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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 



PRESENTED BY 

PROF. CHARLES A. KOFOID AND 
MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID 



\ 




y 




THE G UN- BOA T S E R IE S . 



FRANK 



ON A GUN-BOAT 



HARRY CASTLEMON, 

AUTHOR OF "THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SERIES," "THE GO-AHEAD 

SKKIttS," HTC. 




PHILADELPHIA: 
PORTER & COAXES. 

CINCINNATI, O. : 
R. W. CARROLL & CO. 



POPULAR JUVENILE BOOKS. 

BY HARRY CASTLEMON. 



THE GUN-BOAT SERIES. 
6 volumes, in a neat box, $7.50 

Each volume handsomely Illustrated. 

FRANK, THE YOUNG NATURALIST, . . . $1.25 

FRANK IN THE WOODS, 1.25 

FRANK ON THE PRAIRIE, 1.25 

FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT, . 1.25 

FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG, 1.25 

FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI, . . 1.25 

Sent by mail, on receipt of price, post-paid. 



THE GO-AHEAD SERIES. 

3 volumes, in a neat box, $4.50 

Each volume handsomely Illustrated. 

TOM NEWCOMBE, $1.50 

Go AHEAD, 1.50 

No Moss, 1.50 

Sent by mail, on receipt of price, post-paid. 



THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SERIES. 

3 volumes, in a neat box, $3.75 

Each volume handsomely illustrated. 

FRANK AMONG THE RANCHEROS, . . . $1.25 
FRANK AT DON CARLOS RANCHO, . . . 1.25 
FRANK IN THE MOUNTAINS, 1.25 

Sent by mail, on receipt of price, post-paid. 



Entered according to Act of Congress?, in the year 1865, by 

K. W. CARHOLL & CO., 

In the Clerk s Office of the District Court of theHJnited States, 
for the Southern District of Ohio! 



ir n t m t s . 



CHAPTER I. PAQI 
IK THE NAVY 7 

CHAPTER II. 
LEARNING THE ROPES 17 

CHAPTER III. 
SQUARING THE YARDS 30 

CHAPTER IV. 
A MIDNIGHT ALARM 42 

CHAPTER V. 
A DISCOMFITED REBEL 63 

CHAPTER VI. 
FRANK S FIRST EXPLOIT 64 

CHAPTER VII. 
ON A GUN-BOAT 78 

CHAPTER VIII. 
THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE LINES 89 

CHAPTER IX. 
A UNION FAMILY 99 

CHAPTER X. 
A SPUNKY REBEL 112 

(V) 



yi CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XI. PAH, 
FBANK. A PEISONEE 124 

CHAPTER XII. 
THE ESCAPE 131 

CHAPTER XIII. 
THE FAITHFUL NEGKO ~ 152 

CHAPTER XIV. 
CHASED BY BLOOD-HOUNDS ICt 

CHAPTER XV. 
THE RESCUE , ... 178 

CHAPTER XVI. 
A FBIEND IN NEED 195 

CHAPTER XVII. 
THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION 216 

CHAPTER XVIII. 
ALMOST BETRAYED ,... 229 



CHAPTER XIX. 



FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT 



CHAPTER I. 



,ELL, Frank, did you bring home the 
evening s paper ? " inquired Mrs. Nel 
son, as her son entered the room 
where she was sitting. 

" Yes, ma am. Here it is ! " an 
swered Frank, producing it. " But 
there is no news in it. The Army 
of the Potomac has not moved yet. I don t see 
what makes them wait so long. Why don t 
McClellan go to work and thrash the rebels?" 

" You must remember that the rebels have about 
as many men as we have," answered his mother. 
" Perhaps, if McClellan should undertake to thrash 
the rebels, as you say, he would get whipped him 
self." . 

(7) 




8 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

" That makes no difference," answered Frank 
" If I was in his place, and the rebels should whip 
me, it wouldn t do any good, for I d renew the 
battle every day, as long as I had a man left." 

It was toward the close of the first year of 
the war, during the " masterly inactivity " of the 
Army of the Potomac. For almost eight months 
McClellan had been lying idle in his encampment, 
holding in check that splendid army, which, with 
one blow, could have crushed out the rebellion, and 
allowing the rebels ample time to encircle their 
capital with fortifications, before which the blood of 
loyal men was to be poured out like water. The 
people of the North were growing impatient ; and 
" On to Richmond ! " was the cry from every part 
of the land. 

From the time Fort Sumter had fallen, Frank 
had been deeply interested in what was going on. 
The insults which had been heaped upon the flag 
under which his grandfather had fought and died, 
made the blood boil in his veins, and he often 
wished that he could enlist with the brave de 
fenders of his country. He grew more excited 
each day, as the struggle went on, and the news of 
a triumph or defeat would fire his spirit,, and he 



IN THE NAVY. 

longed to be standing side by side with the soldiers 
of the Union, that he might share in their triumphs, 
or assist in retrieving their disasters. 

He was left almost alone now, for many of the 
boys of his acquaintance had shouldered their 
muskets and gone off with the others ; and that 
very day he had met Harry Butler, who had en 
listed as a private, wearing the uniform of a lieu 
tenant, which he had won by his bravery at Fort 
Donelson. 

He had never said one word tojiis mother about 
enlisting, for he was an only son, and he dreaded 
to ask her permission. But that mother s quick 
eye easily read what was going on in her son s 
mind. She had Puritan blood in her veins ; her 
ancestors had fought in the war of the Revolution, 
and she had resolved that, if Frank wished to go, 
she would give her full consent. A mother s heart 
alone can tell the struggle it had cost her to come 
to this determination. 

"I ve got a letter from Archie, also," said 
Frank. 

His mother took it from his hand, and read as 
follows : 



10 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

PORTLAND, March 18, 1862. 
DEAR COUSIN: 

I am about to tell you something which you will cal. 
strange news. Father has at last given his consent to my 
going to war, provided you will go too. He says that if 
I go, I must have you with me, to take care of me, and 
keep me straight. I suppose he thinks I will never go if 
I am obliged to wait for you, for he says your mother 
will not consent to your going. You can ask her, any 
way. You know you always wanted to have a hand in 
putting down this rebellion. 

If we go at all, I think the best plan is to enter the 
navy. It is a much better branch of the service than the 
army the discipline is better; there are no long marches 
to endure; and, wherever you go, your house goes with 
you. 

Now, be sure and do your best, for now is our chance, 
if ever. Please write immediately, for I am afraid father 
will change his mind. 

Yours, in haste, ARCHIBALD WINTERS. 

When Mrs. Nelson had read the letter, she 
handed it back to her son without saying a word. 

" Well, mother, what do you think of it ? " in 
quired Frank. 

" The matter rests entirely with you, my son," 
answered Mrs. Nelson, dropping her sewing into 
her lap. " Do just as you think best." 

" Do you say I may go?" inquired Frank, joy 
fully. 



IN THE NAVY. 13 

" Certainly. You have my full consent to go, 
if you wish to." 

" Oh, mother," exclaimed Frank, springing up 
and throwing his arms around her neck, "I wish 
I had known, long ago, that you were willing to 
have me go." 

" Where are you going, Frank ? " inquired Julia, 
who had a vague suspicion of what was going on. 

" I m off to the war," answered her brother. 
" I am going into the navy with Archie." 

" Oh, Frank," she exclaimed, bursting into tears, 
"you must not go. There s enough in the army 
without you. You will certainly get shot." 

"I ll never be shot in the back," said Frank; 
" you may rely on that. But you do n t suppose 
that every one who goes to war gets shot, do you? 
I may be one of the lucky ones ; so do n t cry 
any more." 

But Julia could not control her feelings. The 
thought that her brother was to be exposed to the 
slightest danger was terrible ; and Frank, seeing 
that it would do no good to talk to her, left the 
room, and went into his study, where he wrote to 
Archie, stating that he would start for Portland 
the next day. He spent the forenoon in wander- 



12 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

ing about the house and orchard, taking a long and 
lingering look at each familiar object. He locked 
the museum, and gave the key to Julia, who was 
close at his side wherever he went. Even Brave 
seemed to have an idea of what was going on, for 
he followed his master about, and would look into 
his face and whine, as though he was well aware 
that they were about to be separated. 

Immediately after dinner, the carriage which was 
to convey Frank and his baggage to the Julia 
Burton drew up before the door. The parting 
time had come. " Good-by, mother," said Frank, 
as he stood at the door, ready to go. 

" Good-by, my son," said Mrs. Nelson, strain 
ing him to her bosom, and struggling hard to keep 
back a sob. "We may never see you again, but 
I hope I shall never hear that you shrunk from 
your duty." 

Frank could not reply his breast was too full 
for utterance: and hastily kissing his sister, and 
shaking Hannah s hand, he hurried down the walk 
toward the gate. He had not gone far before 
Brave came bounding after him. 

" Go back, old fellow," said Frank, caressing the 
faithful animal ; " you can t go with me this time. 



IN THE NAVY. 13 

it will be a long while before you and I will go 
any-where together again. Go back, sir." 

Brave understood his master perfectly; and he 
turned and trotted toward the house, looking back 
now and then, and whining, as if urging his master 
to allow him to go too. Frank did not stop to 
look back, but sprang into the carriage, and the 
driver closed the door after him, and mounted to 
his seat and drove off. He had scarcely time to 
get his baggage on board the steamer before she 
moved off into the stream. And Frank was glad 
it was so, for the longer he remained in sight of 
the village, the harder grew the struggle to leave 
it. But, at length, every familiar object was left 
behind, and being surrounded by new scenes, Frank 
gradually recovered his usual spirits. 

In two days he arrived at Portland, and as he 
was getting off the cars, he was seized by Archie, 
who had come to the depot to meet him. 

"I m glad to see you," said the latter; "it is 
lucky that you wrote just as you did, for father 
has said a dozen times that I can t go. But I 
guess he will not refuse me, now that you are 
here." 

" I hope not," said Frank ; " we can go as well 



14 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

as any one else. If every one was to stay at horn*., 
we should n t have any army at all." 

"That s just what I told father; but he didn t 
seem to see it. He says there are some TV ho 
ought to go, for they are of no earthly use here; 
but he thinks that boys like you and me ought to 
stay at home until we know enough to take care 
of ourselves." 

But Mr. Winters did not raise many objections 
when he found that Frank had obtained his moth 
er s consent; and, on the next day but one after 
Frank s arrival, he accompanied the boys on board 
the receiving-ship, where they were speedily exam 
ined and sworn in. Each was then supplied with a 
bag and hammock, and two suits of clothes ; and, 
when they were rigged out in their blue shirts and 
wide pants, they made fine-looking sailors. At 
Mr. Winters request they were granted permis 
sion to remain on shore until a draft of men was 
ready to be sent away. The boys were allowed to 
do pretty much as they pleased while they re 
mained, for, as they were to leave so soon, Mr. 
Winters could not find it in his heart to raise any 
objections to the plans they proposed for their 
amusement. Besides, he knew that Archie was in 



IN THE NAVY. 15 

good hands, for Frank was a boy of excellent 
habits, and possessed sufficient moral courage to 
say no, when tempted to do wrong; and, as he 
had great influence over his cousin, Mr. Winters 
knew their conduct would be such as he could 
approve. 

At length, one morning, when they went on 
board the receiving-ship to report as usual, they 
were ordered to present themselves at the depot 
at two o clock that afternoon, with their bags and 
hammocks, in readiness to take the train for the 
West. The boys were a good deal disappointed 
when they heard this, for the idea of serving out 
their year on the Mississippi River was not an 
agreeable one. They had hoped to be ordered to 
the coast. But, as Archie remarked, it was " too 
late to back out," and they were obliged to submit. 
When Archie came to bid farewell to his parents, 
he found it to be a much more difficult task than 
he had expected. The tears would come to his 
eyes, in spite of himself, as he embraced his 
mother; and, as soon as he could disengage himself 
from, her arms, he seized his bag and hammock, 
and rushed out of the house to conceal his emo 
tion. When they reached the depot, they found 



16 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

that the draft to which they belonged numbered 
nearly two hundred men, some of whom were old 
sailors, while others, like themselves, were entirely 
unacquainted with the life they were about to lead. 

The journey to Cairo which was then the naval 
depot of the Western rivers was a long and tedi 
ous one. They were treated with the greatest 
kindness by the officers who accompanied them, 
and at almost every station the people would flock 
around the cars with baskets of provisions, which 
were freely distributed. 

Early on the fifth morning they reached their 
destination, and were immediately marched on 
board a small steamer which lay alongside of the 
naval wharf-boat, and carried to the receiving-ship, 
which lay anchored in the middle of the river. 



LEARNING THE ROPES. 17 



CHAPTER II. 




S they came on board the recehing- 
ship they were all drawn up in a 
line, the roll was called, and they 
were divided off into messes. The 
mess to which Frank and his cousin 
belonged was called " Number Twenty- 
V(X five." As they were about to be dis 
missed, the officer who had called the roll said to 
Archie : 

" You will be cook of this mess." 
" Sir ? " said Archie, in surprise. 
" You will be cook of this mess," repeated the 
officer, in a louder tone. " But what is the matter 
with you ? Are you hard of hearing ? " 
" No, sir ; but I can t cook." 
" Rever mind ; you can try. You may go be 
low, lads." 
2 



18 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

The men did as they were ordered, and our 
heroes seated themselves on one of the broadside 
guns, and Archie said : 

" I m in a nice fix, ain t I ? I do n t know any 
more about cooking than a hog does about gun 
powder." 

"I will assist you all I can," said Frank; "but 
I wonder what we shall have for dinner? I hope 
it will be something good, for I m as hungry as a 
bear." 

At this moment the whistle of the boatswain s 
mate sounded through the ship, and that person 
age passed them and called out, in a low voice : 

" Mess cook Number Twenty-five ! " 

" He means me, do n t he ? " inquired Archie, 
turning to his cousin. 

" I do n t know, I m sure. Ask him." 

" Mess cook Number Twenty-five," again shouted 
the mate. 

" Here I am," said Archie. 

"Well, you ought to be somewhere else," said 
the mate, sharply. " Why do n t you go and draw 
your rations?" 

" I do n t know where I should go," answered 
Archie. 



LEARNING THE ROPES. 19 

u Then fly around and find out ; " and the mate 
turned on his heel and walked away. 

" Now, that s provoking," exclaimed Archie. 
* Why could n t he tell a fellow where to go ? I 11 
tell that officer that I did n t ship for a cook ; I 
shipped to fight. I wish I was at home again." 

But regrets were worse than useless, and Archie 
began to look around to find some one who could 
tell him where to go to draw his rations. At 
length he met one of the men who belonged to his 
mess, whose name was Simpson, who told him that 
he must go to the paymaster s store-room, and 
offered to show him the way; and, as he saw that 
Archie was entirely unacquainted with life on 
shipboard, Simpson told him to come to him when 
ever he wanted any advice. 

As Archie entered the store-room, the paymas 
ter s steward, a boy about his own age, who was 
serving out the provisions, after inquiring the 
number of his mess, said : 

" It s lucky that you came in just as you did, for 
I have sent the master-at-arms after you. If you 
do n t attend to your business better than this, I 
shall have you put on the black-list for a week or 



20 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

Now, Archie had never been accustomed to be 
ing " ordered about by any boy of his size," as he 
afterward remarked, and he felt very much like 
making an angry reply. But he knew it would 
only get him into trouble, and, choking down his 
wrath, he answered : 

" If any one will tell me what my duty is, I 
shall be glad to do it." 

" You have n t been in the navy a great while, 
have you ? " inquired the steward, with a laugh. 

" No ; this is my first attempt at learning to be a 
sailor." 

"Well, all I have got to say," continued the 
steward, " is, that you will soon be sorry that you 
ever made the attempt." 

" I am sorry now," said Archie ; " and if I ever 
get home again, you 11 never catch me in another 
scrape like this. I do n t like the idea of having 
everybody order me around, and talk to me as 
though I was a dog." 

"No reflections," said the steward sharply. 
"Better keep a civil tongue in your head. But 
now to business. In the first place, here are your 
dishes," and he handed ArcMe a number of tin 
pots and plates, a large pan, and a mess-kettle. 



LEARNING THE ROPES. 21 

"What shall I do with these?" asked Archie. 

"Why, eat out of them, to be sure," answered 
the steward ; " what else would you do with them ? 
I shall hold you responsible for them," he contin 
ued; "and if any of them are lost, they will be 
charged to your account. Now go and put them 
avay in your mess-chest, which you will find on 
the berth-deck, and then come back, and I will give 
you your rations." 

Archie accordingly picked up his dishes, and 
started he knew not whither, for he had no 
idea to which part of the vessel he should go in 
order to find the berth-deck. But he had often 
boasted that he would have no difficulty in getting 
along in the world while he had a tongue in his 
head ; so he made inquiries of the first man he met, 
who told him to go up to the captain, who was al 
ways ready to send the executive officer to show 
landlubbers over the ship. If there was any joke 
in this, Archie was too angry to notice it, and he 
was about to make a suitable rejoinder, when a 
voice close behind him said : 

" Now, shipmate, what s the use o ? being so hard 
on the boy ? " 

Archie turned, and found Simpson at his side. 



22 FEANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

"The youngster hain t been to sea as long as 
you and I have," continued the latter. "If we 
were ashore, he would stand a better chance of 
gettin along than you nor me." 

" Then, shiver his tim ers, why did n t he stay 
ashore, where he belongs ? " asked the man, gruffly. 

" Oh, he s got the right stuff in him, and will soon 
learn the ropes," answered Simpson. " Come, now, 
my little marlinspike," he continued, turning to 
Archie, "follow in my wake, and I ll show you 
where our mess-chist is;" and the kind-hearted 
sailor led the way to the berth-deck, and showed 
Archie the mess-chest, which had "No. 25" painted 
on it. Archie put all his dishes into it, with the 
exception of the mess-kettle and two plates, which, 
according to Simpson s directions, he took back to 
the store-room, to put his rations in. The steward 
then gave him a large piece of salt beef, some cof 
fee, sugar, butter, and sea-biscuit. 

"Is this all we have to eat?" inquired Archie, as 
he picked up his rations and followed Simpson back 
to his mess-chest. 

"All!" repeated Simpson; "yes, my hearty, and 
you may thank your lucky stars that you have 
got even this. You 11 have to live on worse grub 



LEARNING THE ROPES. 23 

nor this afore your year is out. But I see you 
do n t like the berth of cook, so I 11 take it off 
your hands. Give me the key of the chist." 

Archie accordingly handed it over, and then 
went in search of his cousin, whom he found 
perched upon a coil of rope, engaged in writing a 
letter. 

" Well," exclaimed the latter, as Archie came up, 
"how do you get along?" 

" I do n t get along at all," said Archie ; " I tell 
you, we ve got ourselves in a fix. What do you 
suppose we are going to have for dinner ? " 

" I do n t know," answered Frank. 

" Well, we will have a chunk of salt beef, coffee 
without any milk, butter strong enough to go alone, 
and crackers so hard that you could n t break them 
with an ax. I tell you, the navy is played out." 

"Well, it can t be helped," said his cousin. 
" We are in for it. But we 11 soon get accus 
tomed to the food ; we are seeing the worst of our 
year now." 

"I certainly hope so," said Archie; "but I know 
I can stand it if any one else can; and when I 
fairly get started, I won t ask favors of any one." 

Frank made no reply, but went on with his let- 



24 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

ter, and Archie leaned on one of the guns and 
gazed listlessly into the water. At length they 
were interrupted by the boatswain s whistle, blown 
three times in succession, long and loud. 

"What s the matter now, I wonder," said Frank, 
as the sailors commenced running about the ship 
in all directions. 

" I know," answered Archie, as he saw Simpson 
dive into the cook s galley and reappear bearing 
the mess-kettle, filled with steaming coffee, in one 
hand, and a large pan, containing the salt beef, in 
the other " dinner is ready." 

The cousins walked aft to their mess-chest, and 
found the berth-deck filled with men, who were sit 
ting around the chests, brandishing their sheath- 
knives over plates full of salt beef and " hard-tack." 

Coming directly from home, where they had been 
accustomed to luxurious living, our young sailors 
thought they could not relish this hard fare ; but, 
as they had eaten no breakfast, they were very 
hungry, and the food tasted much better than they 
had expected. 

When dinner was ended, Simpson began to 
gather up the dishes belonging to his mess, pre 
paratory to washing them. Frank and Ardue 



LEARNING THE ROPES. 25 

offered their assistance, and Simpson directed the 
former to take the mess-kettle and go up to the 
galley after some hot water. When he was re 
turning, he saw a man stealing around the deck, 
holding something behind him that looked very 
much like a bundle of rope, and keeping a close 
watch on every one he met. Frank did not know 
what to make of this, and stepping up to the boat 
swain s mate, he inquired : 

"What is that man doing with that bundle of 
rope behind him?" 

" That ain t a bundle of rope, you landlubber," 
replied the mate ; " that s a swab." 

"Well, what is he doing with it?" 

" The best way for you to learn would be for 
you to spill some of that water you have got in 
your kettle on the deck." 

Frank, without stopping to think, tipped up his 
kettle, and turned out some of the water ; and the 
man, who had been watching his every movement, 
sprang toward him and threw down the swab, ex 
claiming, 

" I ve caught you, my hearty ; now you may log 
this bit of rope for awhile." 

"What do you mean?" inquired Frank, amid a 



26 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

roar of laughter from every sailor who had wit 
nessed the performance. 

"What does he mean?" repeated the mate; 
" why, he means that you have got to wipe up that 
water you have spilt on deck, and carry that swab 
until you can catch some one else doing the same 
thing." 

For the benefit of the uninitiated, we will make 
an explanation. It often happens on shipboard, 
especially receiving-ships, that the men become 
very careless ; and in carrying water, paint, or 
grease about the ship, frequently spill some of it 
on deck. While this state of things continues, it 
is impossible to keep a ship clean, and, in order to 
break up this habit, the culprits are obliged to wipe 
up whatever they have spilled, and then carry a 
swab about the deck until they can detect some one 
else equally unfortunate. This is not a pleasant 
task ; for, as soon as this rule is put in force, the 
men become very careful, and the luckless offender 
is sometimes obliged to walk the decks the entire 
day before he can detect any one in the act of vio 
lating it. 

Frank, of course, did not understand this, and the 
mate had got him into the scrape for the purpose 



LEARNING THE ROPES. 27 

of getting the man who first had the swab, who was 
a particular friend of his, out of his unpleasant 
position. 

" Come, youngster, drop that mess-kettle and 
pick up that swab," commanded the mate. 

Frank knew he had no alternative ; so he set 
his mess-kettle on deck out of the way, and picking 
up the swab, walked aft to the place where he had 
left Simpson. 

"Hullo, there," exclaimed the latter, as Frank 
approached, "what s the matter with you?" 

Frank related the whole circumstance, and Simp 
son could scarcely restrain his indignation. 

" That bo son s mate ought to be mast-headed 
for a whole week," he exclaimed. " But I 11 
square yards with him some day. I m sorry 
you have got into this scrape, but it can t be 
helped. I ve seen many a good fellow, in my 
time, in the same fix. Now you must walk around 
the ship, and if you see any one spill the least drop 
of water, or any thing else, on deck, rush up and 
give him the swab. There are a good many land 
lubbers on board, who don t know the rules, and 
you won t have any trouble in catching them. Al- 



28 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

ways be careful to keep the swab behind you, out 
of sight." 

Frank was a good deal mortified at being the 
victim of this novel mode of punishment; but he 
consoled himself with the thought that he would 
soon learn his duty, and be enabled to avoid all 
such scrapes. He walked about the vessel for an 
hour, trailing the swab along the deck behind him ; 
but it seemed as though every one was particularly 
careful. 

Meanwhile Archie, who had learned the par 
ticulars of the case from Simpson, was acting as a 
sort of scout, hoping to be of some assistance to 
his cousin. But he looked and waited in vain for 
some one to violate the rule, and finally he resolved 
to make use of a little strategy in releasing 
Frank. 

Discovering a man coming out of the galley with 
a pail of water, Archie walked rapidly down the 
deck, and jostled him w T ith sufficient force to empty 
half the contents of his pail on the deck. Archie 
did not, of course, stop to apologize, but hurried 
on, and before the man could look up to see who 
had caused the mischief, he had disappeared. 
Frank, who had been watching his cousin s mo 



LEARNING THE ROPES. 29 

tions, immediately stepped up and dropped the 
swab before the man, and walked away, laughing 
in his sleeve, when he thought how cleverly his 
release had been accomplished. 

When the hour of bedtime arrived, the boys 
were instructed how to get into their hammocks, 
and laughed at for tumbling out on the opposite 
side. But, after a few attempts, they succeeded in 
gaining the center of their suspended beds, and 
were soon in a sound sleep. 



30 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 



CHAPTER III. 

tfe iurfcs. 





Y degrees the boys became accus 
tomed to their new situation, and 
began to feel much more contented. 
The only thing that troubled them was 
the food they received. It consisted, 



for the most part, of salt pork and beef, 
and hard crackers, with now and then a little 
flour and dried apples. Simpson, who had been 
in the navy nearly all his life, and had become 
well acquainted with its rules and regulations, 
asserted that they did not receive half their al- 
lowance^jind promised that, if he could detect 
the paymaster s steward in the act of cheating 
them, he would pay him back in his own coin. 
Now Blinks, for that was the steward s name, was 
a notorious cheat; he never gave the men their 
full rations. On the contrary, he often boasted 



SQUARING THE YARDS. 31 

that he cleared not less than a hundred pounds 
of provisions every day. He was the caterer of 
the steerage mess, and many a pound of flour and 
apples, which should have been given to the men, 
found its way to his table, in the shape of pies and 
puddings. Blinks always rose early, and as soon 
as he was dressed, the steerage steward, every 
morning, brought to his room a lunch, consisting 
of coffee and apple-pie. He was very fond of 
pies, and had several made every day. Every 
time the men passed the galley, they saw long 
rows of them set out to cool. Many a midnight 
plundering expedition had been planned against 
the galley, but without success. The door and 
windows were securely fastened at sundown, and 
all attempts to effect an entrance were unavailing. 
It was also useless to attempt to bribe the cook, 
for Blinks, who was a strict accountant, always 
knew how many pies were made every day, .and if 
any of them were missing, the cook was sure to 
suffer. One evening, while Frank and oimpson 
were engaged in washing up the supper-dishes, the 
latter inquired : 

" Would you like one of those pies we saw in 
the galley to-day ? " 



32 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

" Yes," answered Frank ; " they looked very 
tempting." 

" Well," said Simpson, lowering his voice to a 
whisper, " we 11 have some of them to-night." 

"How will we get them?" inquired Frank. 

"Why, we 11 steal them. We can t beg or buy 
them. Besides, the stuff they are made of right 
fully belongs to us. I do n t care a snap for the 
pies, but I do n t want to see that rascally steward 
growing fat off our grub." 

" I m in for it," answered Frank, who had long 
wanted an opportunity to revenge himself on 
Blinks. 

"Will that cousin of yours lend us a hand?" 
inquired Simpson. 

"Yes, without any coaxing. He does not like 
the steward any better than I do. But I d like 
to know how we are going to work to get at the 
pies? The doors and windows are all fastened." 

" We will pry up the galley, so that one of us 
can crawl under it. I ve put a handspike where I 
can find it in a moment. -We shall have no trouble 
at all." 

As soon as the dishes were washed and stowed 
away in the mess-chest, Frank went to find hip 



SQUARING THE YARDS, 33 

cousin, who was always ready for any mischief of 
that kind, and readily agreed to the proposal. 
When bedtime came, the three slung their ham 
mocks together, and, to all appearances, were soon 
fast asleep. At nine o clock the ship s corporal 
put out all the berth-deck lights, Avhich left the 
place shrouded in darkness. As soon as he had 
gone forward again, Simpson raised himself on his 
elbow, and whispered : 

" Turn out, lads. Now s our time." 
The boys crept noiselessly out of their ham 
mocks, and followed the sailor, who led the way 
directly to the galley, which was, in fact, a small 
house, about ten feet square, built on the deck, to 
which it was insecurely fastened. Simpson found 
his handspike without any difficulty, and placing 
one end of it under the galley, easily raised it from 
the deck, while Archie threw himself on his hands 
and knees, and crawled in under it. It was as dark 
as pitch inside the galley, but he knew exactly 
where the pies were kept, and had no difficulty in 
finding them. He handed three of them to his 
cousin, and then crawled out again, and the galley 
was lowered to its place. After stowing the pies 
safely away in their mess-chest, they again sought 
3 



34 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

their hammocks. The next morning, when the 
steward entered the galley to prepare the usual 
lunch for Blinks, he was surprised, and a good deal 
terrified, to find that some of the pies were missing. 
He immediately went on deck, and reported it to 
Blinks, who furiously asked : 

"Where have they gone to, you rascal?" 

" I do n t know, sir, I m sure," answered the 
steward, while visions of double-irons danced be 
fore his eyes. u There were eight pies in the gal 
ley when I locked it up last night." 

" I do n t believe it, you scoundrel. You sold 
the pies, and think that, by telling me they are 
missing, you can make me believe that they were 
stolen." 

" I have never done any thing of the kind since 
I have been your steward, Mr. Blinks," said the 
man, with some spirit. " I have always been as 
careful of your interests as I would be of my own. 
Did you ever detect me in a mean or a dishonest 
act?" 

" No ; but I have often caught the cook stealing 
things. I 11 report you to the executive ofiicer, 
and have you punished. Go below." 

The man sullenly withdrew, and Blinks hurried 



SQUARING THE YARDS. 35 

to the executive officer s room and reported the 
affair. 

"Are you sure the steward stole the pies, Mr. 
Blinks?" inquired the officer; " perhaps some one 
broke into the galley. It would be well for you 
to go down and see, before punishing the steward." 

Blinks hurried below, and commenced a thorough 
examination of the locks and window-fastenings, 
but all to no purpose; and he was still more sur 
prised when the steward affirmed that he had 
found all the doors and windows closed, just as he 
had left them. This was also reported to the ex 
ecutive officer, who advised Blinks to say nothing 
about the affair, but to set a watch over the galley, 
and, if possible, discover the offender. 

Blinks resolved to act upon this suggestion ; 
and, the following evening, he posted a sentry over 
the galley, with instructions to arrest any one who 
might be discovered prowling around. After fast 
ening the doors and windows himself, he put the 
keys in his pocket and walked away. 

At half-past nine o clock our young sailors and 
Simpson were again on hand. After a careful re- 
.connoissance, the sentry was discovered fast asleep 
at his post. They immediately set to work as be- 



36 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

fore the galley was raised up, and three more pies 
secured. It was all done in a moment, and the 
sentinel was not awakened ; and as they retreated 
to their hammocks, they could scarcely refrain 
from laughing outright, when they thought how 
nicely the trick was performed. 

The next morning Blinks opened the galley at 
an early hour, and was surprised and enraged to 
find that some of his pies were again missing. 
He carefully examined every nook and corner of 
the galley, but failed to discover a place where any 
one could effect an entrance. 

For four nights more, in succession, Frank and 
his accomplices visited the galley, each time taking 
pies enough to last them a whole day; and Blinks, 
in the mean time, was making unavailing efforts 
to discover the offenders. On the fifth night, 
Archie, who was the one that always went into the 
galley, was much longer than usual in finding the 
pies. At length he whispered, 

"I say, Simpson!" 

"Ay, ay, my hearty; what is it?" 

" I can t find but one pie." 

"You can t, hey?" said Simpson; "I smell a 
rat. Bring the pie out here." 



SQUARING THE YARDS. 37 

Archie accordingly handed it out, saying, as he 
lid so 

" I m hungry as blazes ; I believe I 11, eat a 
piece of that pie to-night." 

"Not in a hurry," said Simpson, as they began 
to crawl back toward their hammocks; "not in a 
hurry; I ve been in such scrapes as this before, 
and can t be fooled easy." 

"What do you mean?" inquired Frank. 

" Why, I mean that this pie was made on pur 
pose for us," said Simpson ; " it has got some 
kind of medicine in it that will make a fellow sick. 
If we should eat it, they would not be long in find 
ing out who stole the pies." 

" I 11 tell you what to do with it," said Frank, 
suddenly ; " let s give it to Jenkins, the boat 
swain s mate ; he s a mean fellow, and I should n t 
be sorry to see him sick. 

"That s just what I was going to do with it," 
said Simpson. "Now, you go back to your ham 
mocks, and I ll carry him the pie." 

"As Simpson had taken particular notice of the 
place where Jenkins was in the habit of slinging 
his hammock, he had no difficulty whatever in find 
ing it. 



38 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

"I say, shipmate," he whispered, shaking the 
mate by the shoulder. 

"What do you want?" he growled. 

" Wake up," said Simpson ; " I ve got a nice pie 
for you; do you want it?" 

"Of course I do," answered the mate, taking it 
from Simpson s hand. " But who are you ? " he 
inquired, for it was so dark that he could not 
have recognized the features of his most intimate 
friend. 

"I m Jack Smith," answered Simpson; "but I 
can t stop to talk with you, for some one may dis 
cover me;" and before Jenkins could detain him, 
he had slipped off quietly in the darkness. 

It was as Simpson had said the pie had been 
made "on purpose for them." When Blinks saw 
that it was impossible to discover the guilty party, 
he ordered his steward to make a nice, large pie, 
into which he put two doses of jalap. It was his 
intention to make the offender sick; and he told 
the doctor what he had done, and requested him to 
keep an eye on all who came to him for medicine 

The next morning Jenkins was not heard blow 
ing his whistle, but was seen moving slowly about 
the ship, with a pale, woe-begone countenance ; 



SQUARING THE YARDS. 39 

and as soon as the doctor appeared, he made ap 
plication to go on the "sick-list." 

"What s the matter with you?" inquired the 
doctor. 

Jenkins then explained how he had been sud 
denly taken very ill during the night, and was 
afraid he was going to die. The doctor, who knew 
in a moment that it was the effect of the medicine 
contained in the pie, exclaimed : 

" Why, you "re just the man Mr. Blinks has been 
wanting to see for the last week. Orderly, ask 
Mr. Blinks if he will have the kindness to come 
here a moment." 

The orderly disappeared, and Jenkins stood, 
looking the very picture of despair, too sick to 
know or care what was going on. 

" Mr. Blinks, I ve found your man," said the 
doctor, when the paymaster s steward made his 
appearance. 

" Well, my fine fellow," said Blinks, turning to 
the mate, and smiling grimly, "how do you feel by 
this time? Very pleasant morning, isn t it? I 
knew I d catch you, you scoundrel," he exclaimed, 
suddenly changing his tune ; " 1 7 11 teach you to 
steal my pies ! " 



40 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

" I I do n t know what you mean, sir ! " said 
the mate, in surprise. 

" Do n t talk to me, you villain," said Blinks, 
savagely; "didn t you eat a pie last night?" 

"Yes, sir," answered Jenkins, hesitatingly, 
"but" 

"I knew you did, you rascal." 

"But the pie was given to me, sir," said the 
mate. 

" Oh, that story won t do at all. I 11 fix you. 
Go below." 

In a short time the mate, who was so weak that 
he was- scarcely able to stand alone, was sum 
moned before the captain, who gave him a severe 
reprimand, and disrated him. He came down on 
deck, looking very forlorn indeed ; and as he 
passed by Simpson, who, with Frank and Archie, 
was standing in the starboard gangway, the former 
exclaimed : 

"That s what I call squaring the yards; I m 
even with him now." 

As soon as Jenkins had recovered from the ef 
fects of the physic, he began to make efforts to 
find Jack Smith. One day he approached Simp 
son, who was seated on a coil of rope, spinning 



SQUARING THE YARDS. 41 

one of his forecastle yarns to Frank and Archie, 
and said : 

"Shipmate, do you know any one aboard here 
named Jack Smith?" 

"No," answered Simpson, with the utmost grav 
ity, "I don t know any one who goes by that 
name." 

"Well, there is a chap here by that name," said 
Jenkins, "and I wish I could find him. He got 
me into a bad scrape." 

But, it is needless to say, he never found Jack 
Smith. 



FKANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 



CHAPTER IV. 




[form. 



the afternoon of the following day, 
as Frank and his cousin were walk 
ing up and down the deck, talking over 
old times, Simpson hurriedly approached 
them, exclaiming, 

"Boys, do you want to leave this 
ship?" 

"Yes," answered Frank; "we re tired of stay 
ing here." 

"Well, it s all right, then. I volunteered to go, 
and I had both your names put down. The ex 
ecutive officer says if you want to go, just get your 
donnage and go for ard." 

"Where are we to go?" inquired Archie. 
"On board of the Illinois," answered Simpson. 
" She is a magazine-ship, and is lying half-way 



A MIDNiUlIT ALARM. 43 

between here and Mound City. No work at all 
to do. I m going. 

"Then we ll go, of course," said Frank; "for 
we do n t want to lose you." 

They immediately got down their hammocks 
and bags, and went forward, where they found the 
executive officer standing on the forecastle, wait 
ing for them. 

" Well, lads, do you volunteer to go on the Illi 
nois?" he asked. 

"Yes, sir." 

"Jump down into that dingy, then," said the 
officer, pointing to a small boat that lay along 
side. 

The boys did as they were ordered, and just 
as they had finished storing away their bags and 
hammocks under the thwarts, a man dressed in the 
uniform of a sailor sprang down into the boat, 
exclaiming : 

"Man your oars, lads, and shove off you ve 
a long pull before you." 

Archie took one of the oars, Frank the other; 
Simpson stowed himself away in the bow of the 
boat, and the sailor took his seat at the helm. 

The cousins were both good oarsmen, and they 



44 FRANK ON A ^UN-BOAT. 

made the little boat dance over the water like a 



duck. It was full five miles to the place where 
the Illinois lay, and they soon found that it was 
indeed "a long, hard pull." The current was 
very strong, and it reminded the boys of many a 
tough struggle they had had around the head of 
Strawberry Island, in the Kennebec River. 

In about two hours they i cached the Illinois, 
and, as they sprang on board, their baggage was 
seized by willing hands, and carried to the cabin, 
which had been stripped of nearly all its furniture, 
and presented, altogether, a desolate appearance. 
After a few moments conversation with one of 
their new messmates, they learned that there were 
only fifteen men on board the vessel, including one 
sergeant and two corporals. These were the only 
officers; and they were, in fact, no officers at all, 
for they were all rated, on the books of the receiv 
ing-ship, as "landsmen." 

They soon discovered that there was no disci 
pline among the crew there could not be, under 
the circumstances. Each stood a two-hour watch, 
at night, and assisted in pumping out the ship, 
morning and evening. With the exception of these 
duties, there was no work to be done on board the 



A MIDNIGHT ALARM. 45 

vessel. The remainder of the day was spent as 
suited them best. Some passed the time in hunt 
ing and fishing, some in reading, and some lounged 
about the decks, from morning until night. 

Frank and Archie were very much pleased with 
their new situation. There was no boatswain s 
mate to trouble them, and they were in no danger 
of rendering themselves liable to punishment for 
some unintentional offense. 

After stowing away their bags and hammocks, 
they amused themselves in strolling about the boat, 
until a neat-looking little sailor stepped up, and 
informed them that supper was ready. They fol 
lowed him into the cabin, and took their seats at 
the table, with the rest, and one of the sailors, who 
went by the name of Woods, exclaimed : 

" Now, boys, pitch in, help yourselves, for if you 
do n t, you won t be helped at all. Every one that 
comes here has to learn to take care of himself." 

"You will not find us at all bashful," answered 
Frank, and he began helping himself most boun 
tifully to every thing on the table. 

It did not take them long to become acquainted, 
and thel}oys found that their new shipmates were 
much better educated than the majority of the 



46 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

sailors they had met. They were a good-natured, 
jovial set of fellows, and the meal-hour passed 
away quickly and pleasantly. 

Immediately after supper the corporal ordered 
all hands below to pump out the ship. In a quar 
ter of an hour this was accomplished, and as they 
were ascending to the boiler-deck, Woods re 
marked : 

" I wish I was back in Wisconsin again for a 
little while." 

"Are you tired of the navy? " inquired Frank. 

" Oh, no ! " answered Woods ; " but I should like 
to see my friends again, and try my hand at quail- 
shooting." 

"Are you fond of hunting? " 

" Yes, indeed ; I spend all my spare time in the 
woods, when I am at home." 

This was the very man, of all others, that Frank 
would have chosen for a companion, and he in 
formed Woods that he also was very fond of rural 
sports. They seated themselves on the boiler 
deck railing, and each related some of his hunting 
and fishing adventures, and, finally, Woods pro 
posed that they should go over the river into Ken 
tucky, on the following morning, on a squirrel- 



A MIDNIGHT ALARM. 47 

hunt. Frank, of course, readily agreed to this. 
He immediately started in search of his cousin and 
Simpson, and informed them of the proposed excur 
sion. When he returned to the place where he had 
left Woods, he found him Avith a musket on his 
shoulder, and a cartridge-box buckled about his 
waist, pacing up and down the deck. 

" I m on watch, you see," he said, as Frank 
came up. " You will go on at midnight ; so you 
had better go and turn in. If we go hunting to 
morrow, we must start by four o clock at least, for 
we have a good way to walk before we reach the 
hunting-ground. Good night." And Woods, set 
tling his musket more firmly on his shoulder, con 
tinued his beat, while Frank sought his hammock. 

About midnight he was awakened by a hand laid 
on his shoulder, when, starting up, he found one 
of the corporals standing beside his hammock, 
holding a lantern in his hand. 

" Is your name Nelson ? " he inquired. 

Frank answered in the affirmative, and the cor 
poral continued : 

" Roll out, then, for it is time for you to go on 
watch. But be careful when you come out, or 
you 11 be shot." 



48 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

" Shot ! " exclaimed Frank. " Who 11 shoot 
me? Are there any rebels around here? " 

" Yes, plenty of them. There are some out on 
the bank now. I was walking with Woods, when I 
happened to look up, and saw two men, with their 
muskets pointed straight at us ; but we got out of 
the way before they had time to shoot. Hurry up, 
now, but do n t expose yourself," and the corporal 
hurried aft, hiding his lantern under his coat as he 
went. 

What Frank s feelings were, we will not attempt 
to say. He was not a coward, for we once saw 
him alone in the forest, standing face to face 
with a wounded wild-cat, with no weapon in his 
hands but an ax ; but fighting a wild-cat and a rebel 
sharp-shooter were two widely different things. He 
had never heard the whistle of a hostile bullet, nor 
had he ever seen a rebel ; and it is not to be won 
dered at, if his feelings were not of the most envi 
able nature. But he was not one to shrink from 
his duty because it was dangerous ; and he drew on 
his clothes as quickly as possible, and seizing a 
musket and cartridge-box that stood in a rack close 
by the cabin door, he hurried aft, where he found 
VYoods concealed behind the port wheel-house, and 



A MIDNIGHT ALAKM. 49 

fche corporal behind a chicken-coop. They both 
held their guns in readiness, and were peering into 
the woods, as if trying to pierce the thick darkness 
that enshrouded them. The Illinois was tied up 
close to the bank, which, as the water in the river 
was low, was about thirty feet in hight ; and as the 
moon was shining very brightly, a person hidden 
in the bushes could distinctly see every thing on 
deck. 

" Keep close there," said Woods, as Frank came 
up. " The corporal says he saw some guerrillas 
on the bank." 

Frank accordingly concealed himself behind a 
stanchion, and his hand trembled considerably as 
he cocked his musket and brought it to his shoul 
der. They remained in this position for nearly a 
quarter of an hour, when, suddenly, something 
stirred in the bushes. 

" There they are," whispered the corporal, draw 
ing himself entirely out of sight, behind the 
chicken-coop. " Look out, they 11 shoot in a 
moment." 

Frank kept a close watch on the bushes, and 
presently discovered a white object moving about 
among them. 
4 



50 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

" I see something, boys," he said ; " but it do n t 
look to me like a man." 

"Yes, it is a man," exclaimed the corporal, 
excitedly. " Shoot him." 

In obedience to the order, Frank raised his gun 
to his shoulder, and an ounce ball and a couple of 
buckshot went crashing through the bushes. The 
commotion increased for a moment, and then 
ceased, and something that sounded very much 
like a groan issued from the woods. 

" By gracious, you hit one of them," exclaimed 
the corporal. " That was a good shot. We 11 
teach these rebs that it is n t healthy to go prowl 
ing about here at night." 

Frank hastily reloaded his musket, and they 
waited, impatiently, for nearly an hour, for the 
other guerrilla to show himself, but the woods 
remained as silent as death. 

" I guess that shot finished them," said the cor 
poral ; " so I will go and turn in. Keep a good 
look-out," he added, turning to Frank, " and do n t 
expose yourself too much." 

Woods and the corporal then went into the 
cabin, and Frank was left to himself. A feeling 
of loneliness he had never before experienced came 



A MIDNIGHT ALARM. 51 

over him. At first he determined to go and call 
his cousin to come and stand watch with him, so 
that he would have some one to talk with ; but, on 
second thought, he remembered that Archie was 
to come on watch at two o clock, and probably 
would not like to be disturbed. Besides, if he 
called him, it would look as though he was a cow 
ard, and afraid to stand his watch alone ; so he 
gave up the idea, and remained in his place of 
concealment. Once he thought he discovered the 
sheen of a musket among the bushes ; but it was 
only his imagination, and after waiting half an 
hour without hearing any thing suspicious, he shoul 
dered his gun, and commenced pacing the deck, 
in full view of the woods. But he was not mo 
lested, and when two o clock came he saw a figure 
steal cautiously out of the cabin, and creep along 
toward him, under cover of the wheel-house. As 
he approached nearer, Frank recognized his cousin. 

" Where are the rebs ? " inquired the latter. 

" The corporal said he saw two of them out 
there in the woods," answered Frank, pointing to 
a thick clump of bushes that stood on the edge of 
the bank ; " and there was something out there, 
and I shot at it. But I ve been on deck here, 



52 FKANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

in plain sight, for the last hour, and haven t seen 
any thing." 

" I hope there are no rebs in there," said 
Archie ; " but I 11 keep dark for awhile. I shipped 
to fight, but I do n t like the idea of having a fel 
low send a bullet into me when I can t see him," 
and he began to settle himself into a comfortable 
position behind the chicken-coop. 

" I do n t think there is any danger," said 
Frank; "but perhaps it is well to be careful at 
first. Be sure and call us when you come off 
watch," and he shouldered his rifle and walked 
leisurely into the cabin. 



A DISCOMFITED REBEL. 53 



CHAPTER V. 




RCHIE stood his watch without see 
ing or hearing any thing of the reb 
els, and when he was relieved, at four 
o clock, he aroused Simpson, Woods, 
and his cousin, and after they had tied 
up their hammocks, and stowed them 
away in the nettings, Woods went to 
the sergeant s room to obtain his consent to their 
proposed excursion. This was easily accomplished, 
and while they were filling their pockets with 
musket-cartridges, Frank proposed that they should 
go out and see what it was that had occasioned the 
alarm during the night ; so they leaned their mus 
kets up in one corner of the cabin, and ran out 
on the bank, and there, weltering in his blood, lay, 
not a rebel, but a white mule. He it was that, 
while feeding about in the woods, had occasioned 



54 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

the disturbance in the bushes, and Frank s shot 
had done its work. The two men with muskets 
had existence only in the corporal s imagination, 
Simpson burst into a loud laugh. 

"A nice set of fellows you are," he exclaimed 
" I should n t want you stationed at my gun in 
action." 

"Why not?" inquired Frank. 

"Why, because you can t tell the difference 
between a mule and a secesh." 

Frank made no reply to this, for, although he- 
was very much relieved to find that it was a mule ; 
and not a man, that he had killed, he was a good 
deal mortified at first, for he expected to be made 
the laughing-stock of his companions. But he 
consoled himself with the thought that he was not 
to blame. The corporal had said that he had seem 
guerrillas in the woods, and he had, as in dutj 
bound, done his best to drive then? away ; besides 
he would not have fired his gun }>ad he not beei 
ordered to do so. 

"It s no matter," said Simpson 4 who noticed 
that Frank looked a little crest-fallen ; " It wa& 
the corporal s fault." 

"I know it," said Frank. "But that\ pjo: 



A DISCOMFITED REBEL. 55 

consolation. I killed the mule, and shall probably 
be laughed at for it." 

" What s the odds ? " asked Simpson. " I ve 
seen many a better man than you laughed at. But 
let us be going, for we have a long way to walk." 

They accordingly retraced their steps to the 
vessel, and Woods awoke one of the corporals, who 
had volunteered to row them over into Kentucky. 
The dingy, which was kept fastened to the stern of 
the Illinois, was hauled alongside, and, in a few 
moments, they reached the opposite shore. Our 
four hunters sprang out, and, bidding the corporal 
good-by, shouldered their muskets, and disap 
peared in the forest. Woods, who was well ac 
quainted with the " lay of the land," led the way. 
Just at sunrise they reached a ridge covered with 
hickory and pecan-trees. 

- Here we are," he exclaimed, as he leaned on 
his gun, and wiped his forehead with his coat- 
sleeve. " There are plenty of squirrels around 
here. But I m hungry ; we have plenty of time 
to eat some breakfast before we begin." 

They seated themselves under the branches of 
some small hickories, and Simpson produced from 
a basket some salt pork, hard crackers, and a 



56 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

bottle of cold coffee. Their long walk had given 
them good appetites, and the meal, homely as it 
was, was eaten with a relish. After they had 
rested a few moments, they started off in different 
directions, to commence the hunt. As Frank 
walked slowly along, with his gun on his shoulder, 
he could not help thinking of the many times he 
had been on such excursions about his native vil 
lage. What a change a year had made! The 
"Boys of Lawrence" were no longer amateur 
sportsmen. They were scattered all over the 
v country, engaged in the work of sustaining the 
integrity of the best government on earth. / Would 
they ever all meet again? It was not at all likely. 
Perhaps some had already been offered up on the 
altar of their country ; and if he should ever live to 
return home, there would be some familiar faces 
missing. In short, Frank was homesick. Finding 
himself once more in his favorite element had made 
him think of old times. He wandered slowly 
along, recalling many a fishing frolic and boat-race 
he had engaged in, until a loud chatter above his 
head roused him from his reverie. He looked up 
just in time to see a large squirrel striving to hide 
himself among the leaves on a tree that stood close 



A DISCOMFITED REBEL. 57 

by. Frank s gun was at his shoulder in a moment, 
and taking a quick aim at the squirrel, he pulled 
the trigger. But the old Springfield musket was 
not intended for fine shooting ; for, though the 
shot cut the leaves all around, the squirrel escaped 
unhurt, and, running up to the topmost branch, 
again concealed himself. While Frank was reload 
ing, Archie came up, and stood leaning on his gun, 
with rather a dejected air. 

"What s the matter with you?" inquired Frank. 

"I wish I was down to the river," answered 
Archie. 

"What would you do there? go fishing?" 

" No, but I d sink this musket so deep that no 
one would ever find it again. It do n t shoot 
worth a row of pins. If I was standing twenty 
feet from the side of a barn, I could n t hit it. I 
wish I had my shot-gun here." 

"So do I," answered Frank; "I wcmld very 
soon bring down that squirrel. I m going to try 
him again;" and going around to the side of the 
tree where the squirrel had taken refuge, he fired 
again, but with no better success. The squirrel, 
not in the least injured, appeared amid a shower 
of leaves, and speedily found a new hiding-place. 



68 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

"It s no use, I tell you," said Archie; "you 
can t hit any thing with that musket." 

"It does look a little that way. But I must 
have that squirrel, if I have to shoot all day. 
Haven t you got a load in your gun?" 

"Yes; but I might as well have none. I can 
kill as many squirrels by throwing the musket at 
them, as I can by shooting at them." 

" Never mind, fire away the ammunition does n t 
cost us any thing." 

"I know it; but another thing, this musket kicks 
like blazes. I had as soon stand before it, as be 
hind it. But I 11 try him ; " and Archie raised 
his gun and blazed away. This time there was no 
mistake ; the squirrel was torn almost to pieces by 
the ball ; and when the smoke cleared away, Frank 
saw his cousin sitting on the ground, holding both 
hands to his nose, which was bleeding profusely. 

" You ve killed the squirrel," he said. 

"Yes," answered Archie; "but I hurt myself 
as much as I did him." 

Frank was a good deal amused, and could scarcely 
refrain from laughing at his cousin s misfortune. 
He tried to keep on a sober face, but the corners 
of his mouth would draw themselves out into a 



A DISCOMFITED REBEL. 59 

smile, in spite of himself. Archie noticed this, 
and exclaimed: 

" Oh, it s a good joke, no doubt." 

"If you would hold your gun firmly against your 
shoulder," said Frank, "it wouldn t hurt half so 
bad. But hadn t we better go on?" 

Archie raised himself slowly from the ground, 
and they moved off through the woods. The 
squirrels were very plenty ; but it required two or 
three, and, sometimes, as many as half a dozen 
shots, to bring one down. 

At length, after securing four squirrels, their 
shoulders became so lame that they could scarcely 
raise their guns; so they concluded to give up 
shooting, and start in search of Woods and Simp 
son, who had gone off together. About noon they 
found them, sitting on the fence that ran between 
the woods and a road. Simpson had three squir 
rels in his hand. 

"We are waiting for you," he said, as Frank 
and Archie came up ; " it s about time to start for 
the boat." 

"I m hungry," said Frank; "why can t we go 
down to that house and hire some one to cook our 
squirrels for us?" 



60 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

" That s a good idea/ said Woods; "come 
along ; " and he sprang off the fence, and led the 
way toward the house spoken of by Frank, which 
stood about a quarter of a mile down the road, 
toward the river. 

As they opened the gate that led into the yard, 
they noticed that a man, who sat on the porch in 
front of the house, regarded them with a savage 
scowl on his face. 

"How cross that man looks!" said Archie, who, 
with his cousin, was a little in advance of the others ; 
"maybe he s a reb." 

"How do you do, sir?" inquired Frank, as he 
approached the place where the man was sitting. 

"What do yees want here?" he growled, in 
reply. 

" We came here to see if we could n t hire some 
one to cook a good dinner for us," answered Frank. 

"No, ye can t," answered the man, gruffly; "get 
out o here. I never did nothin for a Yank, an 
I never will. I d like to see yer all drove from 
the country. Get out o here, I tell yer," he 
shouted, seeing that the sailors did not move, u or 
I 11 let my dogs loose on yer ! " 

" Why, I really believe he is a reb," said Archie ; 



A DISCOMFITED REBEL. 61 

"he s the first one I ever saw. He looks just 
like any body else, do n t he, boys ? " 

" If yees do n t travel mighty sudden, I 11 make 
a scatterin among yer," said the man, between his 
clenched teeth ; "I 11 be dog-gone if I do n t shoot 
some o yer;" and he reached for a long double- 
barrel shot-gun that stood behind his chair. 

"Avast, there, you old landlubber," exclaimed 
Simpson; "just drop that shootin iron, will you. 
We re four to your one, and you do n t suppose 
that we are going to stand still and be shot down, 
like turkeys on Thanksgivin morning, do you? 
No, sir, that would be like the handle of a jug, all 
on one side. Shootin is a game two can play at, 
you know. Come, put that we pon down;" and 
Simpson held his musket in the hollow of his arm, 
and handled the lock in a very significant manner. 

The man saw that the sailors were not to be in 
timidated, and not liking the way Simpson eyed 
him, he leaned his gun up in the corner again, and 
muttered something about Yankee mudsills and 
Abolitionists. 

"Just clap a stopper on that jaw of yours, will 
you," said Simpson ; " or, shiver my timbers, if 
we do n t try man-o -war punishment on you. Now, 



62 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

Frank," he continued, "you just jump up there, 
and shoot off the old rascal s gun; and then keep 
an eye on him, and do n t let him get out of his 
chair ; and the rest of us will look around and see 
what we can find in the way of grub." 

Frank sprang up the steps that led on to the 
porch, and fired both barrels of the gun into the air, 
and then, drawing a chair to the other end of the 
porch, coolly seated himself, and deposited his feet 
on the railing ; while the others went into the house, 
where they secured a pail of fresh milk and a loaf 
of bread. From the house they went into the 
wood-shed, where they found a quantity of sweet 
potatoes. They then returned to the place where 
they had left Frank. 

"Come on, now," said Woods; "we ll have a 
tip-top dinner, in spite of the old secesh." 

" Hold on," said Frank; " where are you going? 
I move we cook and eat our dinner here. There s 
a stove in the house, and every thing handy." 

The man was accordingly invited into his own 
house by the boys, and requested to take a seat, 
and make himself perfectly at home, but to be 
careful and not go out of doors. They deposited 
their muskets in one corner of the room ; and while 



A DISCOMFITED REBEL. 63 

Archie started a fire in the stove, Frank dressed 
the squirrels, and washed some of the sweet pota 
toes, and placed them in the oven to bake. Woods 
drew the table out into the middle of the room ; 
and Simpson, after a diligent search, found the cup 
board, and commenced bringing out the dishes. 
Frank superintended the cooking; and, in half an 
hour, a s plendid dinner was smoking on the table. 
When the meal was finished, they shouldered their 
muskets, and Simpson said to the man : 

" Now, sir, we re very much obliged to you for 
your kindness ; but, before we go, we want to give 
you a bit of advice. If you ever see any more 
Yankee sailors out this way, do n t try to bully them 
by talking treason to them. If you do, just as 
likely as not you 11 get hold of some who won t 
treat you as well as we have. They might go to 
work and clean out your shanty. Good day, sir ; " 
and Simpson led the w T ay toward the boat. 



FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 




CHAPTER VI 



9 e$>* . 

s JRtst 



CURING the three months following 
that Frank and Archie were at 
tached to the Illinois, they met 
with no adventure worthy of notice. 
They passed nearly every day in the 
w r oods, and, after considerable practice, 
had become splendid shots with their 
muskets ; and as game was abundant, their table 
was kept well supplied. 

At length, the new magazine-boat, which had for 
some time been building at Cairo, was towed along 
side the Illinois, and a detachment of men from the 
receiving-ship were set to work to transfer the am 
munition. The crew of the Illinois were not at all 
pleased with this, for they knew that the easy life 
they had been leading was soon to be brought to 
an end. 



65 

When the ammunition had all been removed into 
the new boat, the steamer Champion came along 
side, and the Illinois was towed down to Columbus, 
where she was to undergo repairs, and her crew was 
transferred to the receiving-ship again. 

The day after they arrived on board, while Frank 
and his cousin were seated on a coil of rope, as 
usual, talking over old times, and wondering how 
George and Harry Butler liked the army, and why 
they had not written, the boatswain s mate came 
along, and called out, in a loud voice : 

"Archie Winters!" 

" Here I am," said Archie. 

" Well, go up on deck," said the mate ; " the 
captain wants to see you." 

" The captain wants to see me ! " repeated Archie, 
in surprise. 

" Yes ; and you had better bear a hand, too, for 
the captain is n t the man to wait long when he 
sends after any one." 

Archie accordingly went on deck, trying all the 
while to think what he had done that was wrong, 
and expecting a good blowing up for some unin 
tentional offense. Perhaps the captain had by 
some means learned who it was that had made the 
5 



66 FRANK ON A GUN BOAT. 

descent on the cook s galley, and had called him up 
for the purpose of punishing him. 

Finding the captain on deck, talking with the 
executive officer, he very politely remained out of 
hearing, holding his hat in his hand, and waited 
for a chance to speak to him. At length the cap 
tain inquired : 

" Has n t Winters come up yet ? " 

" Yes, sir," answered Archie, stepping up with 
his best salute. 

"Is this your writing?" inquired the captain, 
holding out to Archie a letter addressed, in a 
splendid business hand, to James Winters, Esq., 
Boston. 

" Yes, sir," answered Archie ; " that s a letter 
I wrote to my father." 

"Well," continued the captain, "I have got a 
splendid position for you, as second clerk in the 
fleet paymaster s office. Would you like to take it ? " 

"Yes, sir," answered Archie; "but but" 

" But what ? " inquired the captain. 

" I do n t like to be separated from my cousin. 
We shipped together, and I should like to remain 
with him as long as possible." 

"Oh, as to that," said the captain, "you can t 



FRANK S FIRST EXPLOIT. 67 

expect to be together long ; there is no certainty 
that you will be ordered to the same ship. You 
might as well separate one time as another. I 
think you had better accept this position." 

" I should like to speak with my cousin before 
I decide, sir." 

"Very well; look alive, and don t keep me 



waiting." 



Archie touched his hat, and hurried below. 

" What did he want with you ? " inquired Frank, 
who was sitting with Simpson on their mess-chest. 

Archie told his story, and ended by saying : 

" I do n t believe I 11 take it ; for I do n t want 
to leave you." 

" You re foolish," said Simpson ; " for, as the 
captain said, you can t expect to remain together 
a great while. To-morrow one of you may be 
ordered to a vessel in the Cumberland River, and 
the other to the lower fleet. Better take it; Frank 
can take care of himself." 

"Yes," said Frank, "I should certainly take it, 
if I were in your place. You 11 be an officer then, 
you know." 

"Yes, I shall be an officer," said Archie, con 
temptuously; "and if I meet one of you any- 



68 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

where, I mustn t associate with you at all. No, 
sir ; I 11 go and tell the captain I can t take it." 

"But, hold on a minute," said Frank, as his 
cousin was about to move away ; " perhaps you 
may find that there is another good place, and 
then you can recommend me." 

" That s so," said Archie ; " I did not think of 
that ; I believe I 11 take it ; " and he hurried on 
deck again. 

" Well, what conclusion have you come to ? " 
inquired the captain. "Will you take it?" 

" Yes, sir, with many thanks for your kindness. 

"What is your cousin s name?" 

Archie told him, and the captain continued : 

" I 11 keep an eye open for him. I do n t for 
get that I was young once myself; and I know 
that a sailor s life is rather tough for one who is 
not accustomed to it ; and when I find a deserving 
young man, I like to help him along. Mr. Tyler," 
he continued, turning to the officer of the deck, 
"please send this young man over to the fleet pay 
master s office in the first boat that leaves the ship. 
You need not take your donnagc," he said, turn 
ing to Archie again ; " if you suit the paymaster, 
you can come over for it at any time." 



FRANK S FIRST EXPLOIT. 69 

" Very good, sir," answered Archie ; and he 
went below again. 

When the ten o clock boat was called away, 
Archie, in obedience to the captain s order, was 
sent over to the paymaster s office; and Frank was 
left alone. He watched the boat until it reached 
the landing, and he saw his cousin spring out. He 
then walked aft, and seated himself on the mess- 
chest, and commenced writing a letter to his mother. 
While he was thus engaged, he heard the order 
passed, in a loud voice: "All you men that be 
longed to the Illinois, muster on the forecastle with 
your bags and hammocks." 

As Frank hastened to obey the order, he met 
Simpson, who exclaimed: 

" We ? re off again, my hearty ; and I m glad of 
it. I do n t like to lay around here." 

"Where are we going?" inquired Frank. 

" I do n t know for certain; but I suspect we are 
to be the crew of the store-ship Milwaukee, now 
lying alongside the wharf-boat." 

Simpson s surmise proved to be correct. The 
entire crew of the Illinois, with the exception of 
Archie, was mustered around the capstan ; and after 
answering to their names, they were crowded into 



70 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

a cutter that lay alongside, and, in a few moments, 
were landed on board the Milwaukee. 

She had steam up ; her stores were on board, 
and she was all ready to sail ; and the crew had 
scarcely time to stow away their bags and ham 
mocks, when the order was passed: "All hands 
stand by to get ship under way." 

The gang-planks were quickly hauled in; the 
line with which she was made fast to the wharf- 
boat was cast off, and the Milwaukee was soon 
steaming down the river, and Cairo was rapidly 
receding from view. 

The Milwaukee, which was now dignified by the 
name of " store-ship," was an old river packet. 
She was loaded with clothing, provisions, and small 
stores, with which she was to supply the fleet. It 
was not, of course, intended that she should go 
into action ; but, in order that she might be able to 
defend herself against the guerrillas, which infested 
the river between Cairo and Helena, she mounted 
a twelve-pound howitzer on her boiler-deck, and 
was well supplied with muskets. Her destination 
was Helena. 

They reached that place without any adventure, 
and, after supplying the fleet with stores, started 



71 

to return to Cairo. One pleasant afternoon, as 
they were passing through Cypress Bend, the offi 
cer of the deck discovered a man standing on the 
bank, waving a flag of truce. A bale of cotton 
lay near him; and the man, as soon as he found 
that he had attracted their attention, pointed to the 
cotton, and signified, by signs, that he wished it car 
ried up the river. 

The Milwaukee was immediately turned toward 
the shore, and as soon as they arrived within 
speaking distance, the captain called out : 

"What do you want?" 

" I would like to have you take this cotton to 
Cairo for me," answered the man. 

" Are you a loyal citizen ? " asked the captain. 

" Yes, sir ; and here is a permit from Admiral 
Porter to ship my cotton;" and, as the man spoke, 
he held up a letter to the view of the captain. 

" Bring her into the bank, Mr. Smith," said 
the captain, addressing the pilot ; " and, Mr. 
O Brien," he continued, in a lower tone, turning to 
an officer who stood near, " go down and stand by 
that howitzer. Perhaps there is no treachery in 
tended, but it is well to be on the safe side." 

As soon as the Milwaukee touched the bank, 



72 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

Frank and Simpson v with two others, sprang ashore 
with a line, and, after making it fast to a tree, 
returned on board, and commenced pushing out a 
plank, so that the cotton could be easily rolled on, 
when, suddenly, several men rose from behind the 
levee, and the quick discharge of their rifles sent 
the bullets around those standing on the fore 
castle, like hailstones ; and Simpson, who was 
standing directly in front of Frank, uttered a sharp 
cry of pain, and sank heavily to the deck. The 
next moment the guerrillas, with loud yells, sprang 
down the bank in a body, intending to board the 
boat and capture her. But they had not taken 
her so much by surprise as they had imagined, for 
a shell from the howitzer exploded in their very 
midst, and one of the rebels was killed, and three 
disabled. The others turned and hastily retreated 
behind the levee. Frank took advantage of this, 
and lifting the insensible form of his friend, re 
treated under cover, and laid him on a mattress 
behind a pile of coal, where he would be safe 
from the bullets of the guerrillas, which now be 
gan to come through the sides of the boat in 
every direction. 

This was the first time Frank had ever been 



73 

under fire, and he was thoroughly frightened ; but 
he knew that it was his duty to resist the rebels, 
and to do themjis much damage as possible ; so, 
instead of looking round for a safe place to hide^ 
his first impulse was to run up on deck after a 
jun,. This he knew was a dangerous undertaking, 
for the vessel lay close to the bank, the top of 
which was on a level with the boiler-deck ; and 
behind the levee, scarcely half a dozen rods dis 
tant, were the guerrillas, who were ready to shoot 
the first man that appeared. Nevertheless, Frank 
resolved to make the attempt, for he wanted 
to take revenge on them for shooting Simp 
son. But, just as he was about to start out, he 
heard the captain shout down through the trum 
pet which ran from the pilot-house to the engine- 
room : 

" Back her, strong ! We must get away from 
the bank, or they will pick us all off." 

In obedience to the order, the engineers let on 
the steam, and a heavy puffing told Frank that 
the powerful engines were doing their utmost to 
break the line which held them to the bank. 
Here was another thing that Frank knew he ought 
to do ; he knew that he ought to cut that line, for 



74 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

it would be an impossibility to break it. There 
was an ax handy, and a sudden rush and a couple 
of lusty strokes would put the vessel out of dan 
ger. But, at short intervals, he heard the bullets 
crashing through the side of the boat, and he 
knew that the guerrillas were on the watch. If 
he made the attempt he could scarcely hope to 
come back alive ; and he thought of his mother 
and Julia, how badly they would feel when they 
heard of his death. But even where he stood he 
was in danger of being struck by the bullets that 
were every moment coming through the vessel; 
and would not his mother much rather hear that 
he fell while performing his duty 3 than that he was 
shot while standing idly by, taking no part in the 
fight? He did not wait to take a second thought, 
but seized the ax, and, with one bound, reached the 
gangway that led out on to the forecastle. Here 
he hesitated again, but it was only for a moment. 
Clutching his ax with a firmer hold, and gathering 
all his strength for the trial, he sprang forward, 
and a few rapid steps brought him to the capstan, 
to which the line was made fast. He raised his 
ax, and one swift blow severed the line, and the 
Milwaukee swung rapidly out from the bank 




FRANK SAVING THE BOAT 



FRANK S FIRST EXPLOIT. 75 

Without waiting an instant, Frank turned and 
retreated ; but, instead of going back to the place 
where he had left Simpson, he bounded up the 
steps that led to the boiler-deck, and the next 
moment was safe behind a pile of baled clothing. 
His sudden appearance had taken the rebels com 
pletely by surprise, and before they could recover 
themselves, the line had been cut, and the young 
hero was safe. But they had seen where he had 
taken refuge, and, with loud yells of disappoint 
ment and rage, sent their bullets about his 
hiding-place in a perfect shower. Frank, how 
ever, knowing that he was safe, was not in the 
least alarmed. Waiting until the fire slackened a 
little, he sprang up, and, snatching a musket and 
cartridge-box from the rack which stood close by 
the door of the cabin, was back to his hiding- 
place in a moment. 

" Now," he soliloquized, " we are on more 
equal terms. Better keep close, or I 11 drop 
some of you. 7 

In his cool, sober moments, Frank would have 
shuddered at the thought of taking the life of a 
fellow-being ; but he had seen Simpson shot down 



76 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

before his eyes perhaps killed; and is it to be 
wondered that he wished to avenge his fall? 

It was some time before Frank could get an 
opportunity to use his musket; for if he exposed 
the smallest portion of his body, it was the signal 
for his watchful enemies, who sent the bullets 
about him in unpleasant proximity. In spite of 
his dangerous situation, he could not help think 
ing that the rebels were very proficient in " In 
dian fighting," for, with all his watchfulness, he 
could not get an opportunity to put in a shot. All 
he could see of his enemies would be, first, a rifle 
thrust carefully over the levee, then a very small 
portion of a head would appear, and the bullet 
would come straight to the mark. 

In the mean time the Milwaukee was working 
her way out into the stream, and the rebels, finding 
that their fire was not returned, grew bolder by 
degrees, and became less careful to conceal them 
selves. This was what Frank wanted; but he 
reserved his fire until a tall rebel rose to his full 
hight from behind the levee, fired his gun, and 
stood watching the effect of the shot. Frank s 
musket was at his shoulder in an instant, his finger 



FRANK S FIRST EXPLOIT. 77 

pressed the trigger, and the rebel staggered for a 
moment, and disappeared behind the levee. 

"There," said Frank to himself, "that s what 
Simpson would call squaring the yards. I m 
even with the rascals now." 

The rebels answered the shot with loud yells, 
and their bullets fell thicker than ever; but the 
Milwaukee was almost out of range, and, in a few 
moments, the firing ceased altogether. 



78 



FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 



CHAPTER VII. 




the Milwaukee was fairly out 
of range of the bullets of the guer 
rillas, Frank put his gun back in the 
rack, and started in search of the 
doctor s steward. He ran into the 
cabin without ceremony, and was 
about to enter the steward s room, 
when he discovered a pair of patent-leather boots, 
which he thought he recognized, sticking out from 
under a mattress which lay on the cabin floor; and, 
upon examination, he found that it concealed the 
steward, who was as pale as a sheet, and shaking 
as though he had been seized with the ague. 

" What do you want here ? " he asked, in a trem 
bling voice, as Frank raised the mattress. 

u Simpson is shot," answered Frank, " and J 
w.ould like to have you come down and see him." 



ON A GUN-BOAT. 79 

" Do you suppose I am fool enough to go out on 
deck, and run the risk of being shot? No, sir; I 11 
stay here, where I am safe ; " and the steward made 
an effort to draw his head under the mattress again. 

"There s no danger now," said Frank; "the 
rebels have stopped firing. Besides, we are out 
of" 

"Go away, and let me alone," whined the stew 
ard. " I am not going to expose myself." 

" You re a coward," exclaimed Frank, now fairly 
aroused. " But I guess the captain can " 

" Oh, do n t," entreated the steward ; " I have n t 
been here a minute. I started to get a gun, to pay 
the rebels back in their own coin ; but the bullets 
came through the. cabin so thick that I thought it 
best to retreat to a safe place;" and the steward 
threw off the mattress, and arose, tremblingly, to 
his feet. 

"You went after a gun, did you?" inquired 
Frank, in a tone of voice which showed that he did 
not believe the steward s story. 

" Yes ; and I would have given them fits, for I 
am a dead shot." 

" Where did you put your gun when you found 
that you had to retreat?" 



80 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

- " I put it back in the rack again/ 

This was a likely story; for a person as badly 
frightened as was the steward would not have 
stopped to put the gun back in its place ; and, in 
his heart, Frank despised the man w r ho could be 
guilty of such a falsehood. 

As they were about to go out on deck, the steward 
drew back, exclaiming : 

" I do n t hardly believe it is safe to go out there 
just yet. Let us wait a few moments." 

" I shan t wait an instant," said Frank. " Simp 
son has been neglected too long already. You can 
come down and attend to him, or not, just as you 
please." So saying, he opened the cabin door, 
and walking rapidly out, descended the stairs that 
led to the main deck. 

The steward dreaded to follow; but he knew 
that, if he did not attend the wounded sailor, he 
would be reported to the captain, who, although a 
kind-hearted man, was a strict disciplinarian, and 
one who always took particular pains to see that 
his crew was well provided for. He dared not 
hesitate long; so, drawing in a long breath, he 
ran swiftly out on deck, and disappeared down the 
stairs like a shot. 



ON A GUN-BOAT. 81 

Frank found Simpson sitting upon the mattress 
where he had been lain, with his elbows on his 
knees, and his head supported by his hands. As 
Frank came up, he said, in a weak voice : 

" I came very near losing the number of my 
mess, did n t I ? The rascals shot pretty close to 
me ; " and he showed Frank an ugly-looking wound 
in the back of his head, from which the blood was 
flowing profusely. 

By this time the steward arrived. After exam 
ining the wound, he pronounced it very severe, 
and one that would require constant attention. 

Simpson was speedily conveyed to the sick bay, 
and every thing possible done to make him com 
fortable. Although the Milwaukee was completely 
riddled by the bullets of the guerrillas, he was the 
only one hurt. Frank was excused from all duty, 
that he might act as Simpson s nurse; and he 
scarcely left him for a moment during the two 
weeks of fever and delirium that followed. By the 
time they reached Cairo, however, he was pro 
nounced out of danger. 

Frank wanted very much to see his cousin ; but 
the Milwaukee was anchored out in the river, and 
no one was allowed to go ashore. One afternoon, 
6 



82 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

as he sat by his friend s hammock, reading aloud a 
letter from Harry Butler, in which he gave a vivid 
description of a late battle in which his regiment 
had participated, the orderly entered and informed 
him that the captain wished to see him. He fol 
lowed the orderly, and, as he entered the cabin, the 
captain said : 

" Please help yourself to a chair, Mr. Nelson ; 
I shall be at liberty in a moment. I should like to 
finish this letter before the mail-steamer sails. You 
will excuse me, will you not?" 

" Certainly, sir," answered Frank ; and he seated 
himself, lost in wonder. 

The captain had addressed him as Mr. Nelson, 
while heretofore he had always been called, by the 
officers, Nelson, or Frank. What could it mean* 
The captain had always treated him with the great 
est kindness ; but, since the engagement with the 
guerrillas, all the officers had shown him more con 
sideration than ever. He had noticed the change, 
and wondered at it. 

At length the captain, after hastily directing the 
letter he had written, and giving it in charge of the 
orderly, took an official document from his desk, 
Baying, as he did so : 



ON A GUN-BOAT. 83 

" I am greatly pleased, Mr. Nelson, to be able 
to give you this, for you deserve it;" and after 
unfolding the letter, he gave it to Frank, who read 
as follows : 



NAVY DEPARTMENT, > 
WASHINGTON, D. C., Dec. 18, 18G2. j 

SIR: For your gallantry in the late action at Cypress 
Bend, on the Ist-inst, you are hereby appointed an Acting 
Master s Mate in the Navy of the United States, on tempo 
rary service. Eeport, without delay, to Acting Rear-Ad 
miral David D. Porter, for such duty as he may assign you. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

GIDEON WELLES, 
Secretary of the Navy. 
Acting Master s Mate FRANK NELSON, 

8. S. Milwaukee, Mississippi Squadron. 



"Well," said the captain, after Frank had read 
the letter over three times, to make sure that he 
was not dreaming, and that he was really an officer, 
" what do you think of it ? " 

" I hardly know what to think, sir," answered 
Frank. " It is an honor I did not expect." 

" Very likely," said the captain, with a laugh ; 
" but you deserve it. If it had n t been for you, 
we should all have been captured. I saw the 
whole of the transaction from the pilot-house." 

"It was my duty to do it, sir." 



84 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

" It was a brave act, call it what else you will 
Now go and give this to the paymaster," contin 
ued the captain, handing Frank an order for the 
settlement of his accounts, "and then go imme 
diately and report to the Admiral." 

Frank left the captain, a good deal elated at his 
success; and when he approached Simpson, the 
latter exclaimed: 

"What is it, my hearty? Your promotion?" 

"Yes," answered Frank; "read that;" and he 
handed his appointment to his friend, who said : 

" I knew you would get it. The captain is n t 
the man to let such a thing as you did at Cypress 
Bend pass unnoticed. Give us your nipper, my 
boy ; I m glad to see you an officer." And the 
brave fellow actually shed tears, as he shook 
Frank s hand. "Now, when you are ordered to 
your ship," he continued, "I wish you would speak 
a word for me. I am very well contented here, 
but I had much rather sail with you." 

Frank promised to do his best, and, after put 
ting on his " shore togs," as Simpson called them, 
and giving the captain s order to the paymaster, he 
started off to report to the Admiral. 

When he arrived on board the flag-ship, he was 



ON A GUN-BOAT. 85 

met by the officer of the deck, who inquired his 
business. 

"I wish to see the Admiral, sir," answered 
Frank ; " I am ordered to report to him." 

The officer immediately led the way aft, and 
showed Frank a marine standing at the door of 
the cabin, who took his name and disappeared. In 
a moment he returned, and informed Frank that the 
Admiral was waiting to see him. 

He entered the cabin, and handed his appoint 
ment to the Admiral, who, after reading it, said : 

" So, you are the young man that saved the Mil 
waukee, are you ? Take a chair, sir." 

In a few moments his orders to report, without 
delay, on board the Ticonderoga, were ready ; and 
as the Admiral handed them to him, he said : 

" Now, young man, you will be on a ship where 
you will have a chance to distinguish yourself. I 
shall expect to hear a good account of you." 

" I shall always endeavor to do my duty, sir," 
answered Frank ; and he made his best bow and 
retired. 

When he returned to the Milwaukee, his accounts 
had all been made out. After the paymaster 
had paid him up in full, Frank started for the 



86 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

nearest clothing-store, and when he came out, he 
was changed into a fine-looking officer. 

He immediately directed his steps toward the 
naval wharf-boat, where he found a lively little 
fellow, who seemed full of business, superintending 
the loading of a vessel with provisions. It was 
Archie Winters ; but it was plain that he did not 
recognize his cousin in his new uniform, for Frank 
stood close behind him, several moments, and 
Archie even brushed against him, as he passed. 

" Can you tell me, sir, where I can find Mr 
Winters?" inquired Frank, at length. 

" Yes, sir," answered Archie, promptly, looking 
his cousin full in the face ; " I m the why, Frank, 
how are you?" and he seized his cousin s hand, 
and shook it heartily. " I J ve been on board the 
Milwaukee twice this morning, but you were oif 
somewhere. I heard you had a fight down the 
river, with the rebels. But what are you doing? 
What boat are you ordered to?" 

"I am not doing any thing at present," an 
swered Frank; "but I am ordered to report on 
board the Ticonderoga." 

" There she is," said Archie, pointing to a long, 
low, black vessel that lay alongside of the wharf- 



ON A GUN-BOAT. 87 

boat. " I am just putting provisions on board of 
her. I 11 come and see you as soon as I get my 
work done." 

Frank went on board his vessel, where he was 
received by the officer of the deck, who showed him 
the way into the cabin. After the captain had in 
dorsed his orders, he strolled leisurely about the 
ship, examining into every thing, for as yet he 
knew nothing of gun-boat life. 

The Ticonderoga was a queer-looking craft. 
She was not exactly a Monitor; but she had a tur 
ret forward, and mounted two eleven-inch guns 
and four twelve-pounder howitzers. She had a 
heavy iron ram on her bow, and the turret was 
protected by three inches of iron, and the deck 
with two inches. It did not seem possible that a 
cannon-ball could make any impression on her 
thick armor. 

The officers quarters were all below decks ; and, 
although it was then the middle of winter, Frank 
found it rather uncomfortable in his bunk. 

During the two weeks that elapsed before the 
ship was ready to sail, the time was employed in 
getting every thing in order in drilling at the 
great guns, and with muskets and broad-swords. 



88 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

Most of the crew were old seamen, who under 
stood their duty; and by the time their sailing 
orders came, every thing moved like clock-work. 

In the mean time Frank had been assigned his 
station, which being the youngest officer on board 
the ship was to command the magazine. He 
learned very rapidly, and, as he was always atten 
tive to his duties, he grew in favor with both officers 
and men. 

At length, one afternoon, the anchor was weighed, 
and the Ticonderoga steamed down the river. Her 
orders were to report to the Admiral, who had 
sailed from Cairo about a week previous. They 
found him at Arkansas Post, where they arrived 
too late to take part in the fight. In a few days 
a station was assigned to her in the Mississippi 
River; and the Ticonderoga immediately se> sail, 
in obedience to orders. 



THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN TIIE LINEB. 89 



CHAPTER VIII. 




NE day, about two weeks after they 
came out of Arkansas River, the Ti- 
conderoga stopped at Smith s Landing 
to take on wood, as her supply of coal 
had run short. The vessel was made 
fast to the bank, and, while the seamen 
were bringing in the wood, the paymas 
ter s steward called Frank s attention to some cat 
tle which were feeding on the bank, and remarked : 
" I wish we could go out and shoot one of them." 
" So do I," said Frank ; " I ve eaten salt pork 
until I am tired of it. Let s go and ask the cap 
tain." 

" I m agreed," said the steward. 
The captain was walking on deck at the time, 
and his permission was readily obtained, for he 
himself had grown tired of ship s pork; Frank, 



90 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

accompanied by the steward, and a seaman whc 
was an expert butcher, started out. They were 
armed with muskets, and, as they were all good 
shots, and did not wish to kill more than enough 
to feed the ship s company once, they took with 
them no ammunition besides what was in the guns. 
At the place where the Ticonderoga was lying, the 
levee an embankment about six feet high, built to 
prevent the water from overflowing ran back into 
the woods about half a mile, then, making a bend 
like a horse-shoe, came back to the river again, 
inclosing perhaps a dozen acres of low, swampy 
land ; and it was in this swamp that the cattle 
were. They proved to be very wild ; but, after a 
considerable run, Frank succeeded in bringing 
down one, and the steward and seaman finally 
killed another. The question now was, how to get 
the meat on board the vessel. While they were 
debating on the matter, they were startled by the 
clatter of horses hoofs on the levee ; and, instead 
of drawing back into the bushes, out of sight, 
they very imprudently waited to see who the 
horsemen were. Presently, a party of guerrillas, 
to their utter amazement for they had not dreamed 
that the rebels were so near them galloped up. 



THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE LINES. 91 

Tlie rebels discovered them at the same moment, 
and one of them exclaimed 

" I 11 be dog-gone if thar ain t a Yank ; " and, 
not knowing how many there might be of the 
"Yanks," they very prudently drew up their 
horses. One of them, however, who appeared to 
be the leader of the band, comprehended their sit 
uation at a glance, and exclaimed : 

" Throw down your arms, and you shall be 
treated like men!" 

This brought them to their senses, and they 
turned and ran for their lives. They had scarcely 
made a dozen steps before the bullets and buck 
shot began to rattle about their ears; but the 
trees and bushes were so thick that they escaped 
unhurt. Frank reached the vessel far in advance 
of the others ; as he came over the side, panting 
and excited, the captain, who was still on deck, 
inquired : 

"What s the matter, Mr. Nelson?" 

"We ran foul of some guerrillas out there in 
the woods, sir," replied Frank. 

"How many of them did you see?" 

" They did n t give us much of a chance to 
judge of their numbers, sir; but I should say 



92 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

* 

that there were at least a dozen of them, and they 
were coming this way. I should n t wonder if they 
intended to pick off some of the men who are car 
rying in wood." 

" Mr. Hurd," said the captain, turning to the 
executive officer, " take thirty men, who are good 
shots, and go out there and keep those fellows off. 
Mr. Nelson will go with you." 

Frank accordingly ran below, and armed himself 
with a revolver and musket, and buckled on a 
cartridge-box. When the men were ready, he led 
the way, along the levee, so that, if the guer 
rillas were advancing, they would be certain to 
meet them. But they saw no signs of them until 
they came within sight of a barn which stood in 
the woods, about a mile from the river. The rebels 
were gathered before it, as if in consultation, and 
greeted the approach of the sailors with a scatter 
ing volley of musketry, which whistled harmlessly 
over their heads, or plowed up the ground before 
them. 

" Give em a shot, boys," said the executive 
officer, " and then scatter, and let each man take 
to a tree and fight Indian fashion." 

The sailors wheeled into line with all the prompt- 



THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE LINES. 93 

ness and regularity of veteran troops; and before 
the smoke of their muskets cleared away, they had 
disappeared, like a flock of young partridges. The 
rebels had also treed, and the skirmish was con 
tinued for half an hour, without any damage being 
done to either party. 

This style of fighting did not suit Frank, and he 
began to urge the executive officer to advance, and 
drive them from their position. But the officer did 
not think it safe to attempt it ; for, although he had 
seen but a small number of the rebels, he did not 
know how many there might be hidden away in the 
bushes. 

"Well, then," said Frank, after thinking a mo 
ment, " I have another proposition to make. If 
you will give me ten men, and engage the rebels 
warmly in front, I 11 go and get that fresh beef." 

" Where did you leave it ? " inquired the officer. 

" In the woods, about three hundred yards to the 
left of where the rebels now are." 

" Very well ; pick out your men, and go ahead." 

Frank accordingly selected the boatswain s mate, 
an old, gray -headed man, who had been in the navy 
from boyhood, as his first lieutenant, and ordered 
him to call for volunteers. 



94 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

If there is any thing a sailor admires, it is 
bravery in an officer. Every one on board the Ti- 
conderoga, from the captain down, was acquainted 
with Frank s gallant behavior at Cypress Bend, 
although he himself had never said a word about 
jjij and this, together with his uniform kindness 
toward the men under his command, and the re 
spect he always showed his brother officers, had 
made him very popular with the ship s company ; 
and when the mate who was never better pleased 
than when he could do Frank a service passed 
the word along the line that Mr. Nelson had called 
for volunteers, the men flocked around him in all 
directions. The mate quickly selected the required 
number, and Frank led them toward the place 
where they had left the beef. 

The woods were very thick, and, of course, the 
rebels, who were hidden in the bushes, on the other 
side of the levee, knew nothing of what was going 
on. Frank sent two of his men to the levee, to 
watch the motions of the rebels, with orders not to 
fire unless they attempted to advance; and then 
pulled off his coat, and set to work, with the others, 
cutting up the beef. This was soon accomplished ; 
and, after getting it all ready to carry to the vessel, 



THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE LINES. 95 

Frank, after consulting with the mate, concluded 
that the rebels ought to be punished for what they 
had done, and lit determined to try the effect of a 
cross-fire upon them. 

lie cautiously advanced his men to the levee, 
when he found that the rebels had been growing 
bolder ; and one of them, who was mounted on a 
powerful iron-gray horse, would frequently ride out 
from his concealment, and advance toward the 
place where the men under the executive officer 
were stationed, coolly deliver his fire, and then 
retreat out of range of their guns, to reload. 

" Now, boys/ said Frank, " if that fellow tries 
that again, I 11 put a stopper on his shooting for 
awhile." 

The rebel, who, of course, was entirely ignorant 
of the proximity of Frank s party, soon reappeared, 
and rode rapidly down the levee, until he came 
directly opposite the place where Frank and his 
men were concealed, and then drew up his horse, 
and settled himself in his saddle, for a good shot. 
But at that instant the report of Frank s musket 
echoed through the woods, and the horse on which 
the rebel was mounted fell to the ground, with a 
bullet in his brain. Before the astonished guer 



96 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

rilla could extricate himself from the saddle, Frank, 
with more recklessness than prudence, had bounded 
out of his concealment, and seized him by the collar 
with one hand, at the same time attempting to 
draw his revolver with the other. 

" You re my prisoner ! " he exclaimed. 

But the rebel had no sooner regained his feet, 
than he seized Frank around the body, and, lifting 
him from his feet, threw him heavily to the ground. 
Frank s revolver had become entangled in his belt 
in such a manner that he could not draw it, and 
he now saw how foolhardy he had been, for his 
antagonist was a man of almost twice his size, and 
possessed of enormous strength. But Frank still 
retained his presence of mind, and, in falling, he 
managed to catch the rebel by the hair, and pulled 
him to the ground with him. He clung to him with 
a death-grip, and the guerrilla, after trying in vain 
to break his hold, attempted to draw a knife from 
his belt. Frank seized it at the same moment, when 
each used all his skill and strength to obtain pos 
session of it. 

Both parties gazed in utter amazement, as this 
singular struggle went on, and neither dared to 
fire a shot, for fear of hitting their own man. At 



THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE LINES. 97 

length the mate, who, with his men, had watched 
the progress of the conflict, with their feelings 
worked up to the highest pitch of excitement, dis 
covered that the rebel, by his superior strength, 
was gaining the advantage ; and he knew that the 
only way to save his officer was to drive the rebels 
from their position. 

" Steady there, lads ! " he exclaimed; " fix bayo 
nets. 

The order was promptly obeyed. 

u Ready, now ! Aim ! Fire ! Charge bayonets ! 
Forward, double-quick ! " 

The sailors broke from their concealment with 
a loud yell, and rushed toward the rebel line. 
They were soon overtaken by the men under com 
mand of the executive officer, who, not wishing to 
be outdone by their comrades, had come to their 
assistance. 

The rebels were taken completely by surprise, 
and, after delivering a straggling fire, rapidly re 
treated. 

The charge made by the sailors infused new 
courage into Frank, who increased his exertions, 
and struggled furiously for the possession of the 
knife. 

7 



98 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

"Hold on," exclaimed the rebel; "I ll sur 
render, if you will promise me kind treatment." 

" I guess you ll surrender any way," said Frank ; 
" and you may be sure that you will be well treated." 

" Let go my hair, then," said the rebel ; " and 
let me get up." 

Frank accordingly released his hold, and the 
rebel rose to his feet, and was immediately seized 
by the mate, who, with his men, was just returning 
from the pursuit of the rebels. 

After the prisoner had delivered up his weapons, 
they marched back to the place where they had 
left the beef, and then started for the vessel. 

Every one was soon made acquainted with the 
particulars of the fight, and Frank was again the 
hero of the mess-room. 



A UNION FAMILY. 99 



CHAPTER IX. 




.FTER two days sail, the Ticondc- 
roga arrived at Phillips s Landing, 
where she had been ordered to take 
her station ; for the Admiral had re 
ceived information that the rebel Gen 
eral Marmaduke was preparing to 
cross the river, with his forces, at 
that place 

They came to anchor in front of a large planta 
tion, owned by the man after whom the place was 
named. In a short time, a boat, rowed by tw) 
stout negroes, and which contained two ladies and 
a gentleman, came alongside. 

The captain received them, as they came upon 
the quarter-deck, and the gentleman, after intro 
ducing himself as Mr. Phillips, and apologizing for 
the liberty they had taken in coming on board, 



100 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

asked if the captain could furnish them with some 
Northern papers. They lived in an out-of-the-way 
place, he said, where boats seldom landed, for fear 
of the guerrillas, and they were entirely ignorant 
of what was going on. 

The captain seemed much pleased with his vis 
itors. After complying with their request, he 
conducted them down into the cabin, where they 
passed an hour in conversation. When they were 
about to take their departure, they invited the cap 
tain and his officers to call on them, and assured 
them that there were no rebels in the vicinity. 

The captain was an old sailor, and had been in 
the service so long that he was inclined to be sus 
picious of any thing that looked like friendship on 
the part of a person living in an enemy s country. 
But, after calling on Mr. Phillips s family a few 
times, without discovering any thing to confirm his 
suspicions, he allowed both officers and men to go 
ashore at all times ; and soon quite an intimacy 
sprung up between them and the people of the 
plantation, and dinner parties and horseback rides, 
were the order of the day. 

Frank had been elected caterer of his mess, and 
as he was obliged to furnish provisions, he had a 



A UNION FAMILY. 101 

good excuse for being ashore most of his time. 
He became a regular visitor at the plantation, and 
was soon well acquainted with each member of the 
family. They all professed to be unconditional 
Union people, with the exception of the youngest 
daughter, who boldly stated that her sympathies 
were, and always had -been, with the South ; and 
she and Frank had many a long argument about 
the war. 

Things went on thus for a considerable time, 
when, early one morning, as Frank was on his way 
to the plantation, to buy his marketing, a negro 
met him, as he was ascending the hill that led to 
the quarters, and said : 

" I d like to speak just one word with you, 
young master." 

"Well, what is it, uncle?" said Frank; "talk 
away." 

" Let us move out this way first, for I do n t 
want them to see us from the house." 

Frank followed the negro behind one of the 
cabins, and the latter continued: 

" 1 7 m afraid you and all the officers on your 
boat will be captured one of these days." 

" What do you mean ? " inquired Frank, in sur- 



102 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

prise, half inclined to think that the negro was 
crazy. 

" I suppose you do n t know that my master and 
mistress, and all the white folks on the plantation, 
are rebels, do you ? " 

" No ; and I do n t believe they are." 

" Yes, they are. My master is a Major in the 
rebel army ; and that Miss Annie you come to see 
every day has got a sweetheart in the army, and 
she tells him every thing you say. Besides, they 
send a mail across the river, here, twice every 
month. I took one across myself, night before 
last." 

" I believe you re lying to me, you old rascal," 
exclaimed Frank. 

" No, young master," answered the negro ; 
"every word I have told you is gospel truth. 
You see, my daughter waits on Miss Annie, and 
I find out every thing." 

" You say Miss Phillips has a sweetheart in the 
army ? " 

" Yes ; and he was here to see her not long ago. 
He is a lieutenant, and has gone up to Conway s 
Point, with two cannons, to fire into steamers. 
His name is Miller ; and you would know him from 



A UNION FAMILY. 

a long scar on his left cheek. Was n t Miss An 
nie on board your boat two days ago?" 

" Yes, I believe so." 

" Well, she stole a book. 

"A book!" repeated Frank. "What kind of 
a book?" 

" I do n t know the name of it. It was a small 
book, and had lead fastened to the covers." 

~" By gracious ! " exclaimed Frank, " that was the 
captain s signal-book." 

" Yes ; she told my daughter that she took it out 
of the captain s room." 

Frank did not stop to buy any marketing, but 
hastily catching up his basket, he hurried back to 
the vessel. 

" Orderly," he exclaimed, as he approached the 
marine who always stood at the cabin door, "ask 
the captain if I may see him." 

" He has n t got up yet, sir." 

" That makes no difference. Tell him t-hat I 
have something particular to say to him." 

The orderly went into the cabin, and, in a few 
moments, returned, and said : 

" The captain says walk in, sir." 

" Captain," said Frank, after he had closed the 



104 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

door carefully behind him, " have you lost your 
signal-book ?" 

"No, I guess not;" answered the captain, in a 
tone of surprise. "What makes you ask?" 

" I heard, a few moments ago, that it had been 
stolen from you." 

"I have not had occasion to use it for two or 
three weeks," answered the captain, getting out of 
bed; "but I know exactly where I put it;" and 
he opened a drawer in the sideboard, and com 
menced to overhaul the contents. 

" Set me down for a landlubber," he exclaimed, 
at length, " if it has n t been stolen. It is n t here, 
at any rate." 

Frank then related the conversation which had 
taken place between himself and the negro, and 
the captain continued: 

" Well, I always thought those folks had some 
object in view, or they would not have been so 
friendly. I can t reproach myself for neglecting 
my duty, for I watched them pretty closely." 

" I wonder how that girl knew that the signal- 
book was in that drawer," said Frank. 

" I suppose she must have seen me put it in 
there," said the captain. "Now, the question is. 



A UNION FAMILY. 105 

how to go to work to recover it. It will do no 
good to search the house." 

" If you will leave the matter in my hands, sir/ 
said Frank, " I will agree to recover the signal- 
book, and capture that mail-feag which they intend 
to send across the river in a few days." 

" "Well," said the captain, " it was you who first 
knew that the signal-book was gone, and I believe 
you ought to have the honor of sifting the matter 
to the bottom. Find out all you can, and call on 
me for any assistance you may need." 

Frank immediately returned to the plantation, 
and started toward the quarters, in quest of the 
negro who had given him the information, whom 
he found chopping wood in front of one of the 
cabins. 

" See here, uncle," he exclaimed, " I want you 
to keep me posted on all that goes on here on the 
plantation ; and tell your daughter to find out when 
that rebel lieutenant is coming here again, and 
when they intend to send that mail across the 
river." 

"I will do my best, young master, 7 answered 
the negro. "But you won t tell any one what I 
have said to you ? I shall be killed, sure, if you do." 



106 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

" No, uncle, I shan t betray you ; so do n t be 
afraid," said Frank; and, after purchasing some 
articles which they needed in the mess, he returned 
on board the boat. 

A week passed on, but nothing further was de 
veloped. The officers of the vessel still continued 
to visit the plantation, and Mr. Phillips and his 
family always seemed glad to see them, and evi 
dently did all in their power to make their visits 
agreeable. 

As soon as Frank had time to think the matter 
over, he wondered why he had not known that 
something suspicious was going on. He remem 
bered now that Mr. Phillips had often questioned 
him closely concerning the manner in which the 
gun-boats were stationed along the river, and the 
distance they were apart. And he thought of 
other questions which had been asked him by the 
family, which, although they did not seem strange 
at the time, now seemed suspicious. At first he 
had been inclined to doubt the negro s story; but 
his doubts were soon removed by the appearance 
of a transport, which was completely riddled with 
shot ; and her captain reported that they had been 
fired into by a battery of two guns, at Conway s 



A UNION FAMILY. 107 

Point. Frank knew that it was the work of the 
rebel lieutenant, and he hoped that it would soon 
be his fortune to meet him face to face. 

One evening, just after supper, the negro ap 
peared on the bank, with some chickens in his hand, 
which was a signal to Frank that he had something 
to communicate. He immediately set off alone, in 
a skiff. When he reached the shore, the negro in 
formed him that the rebel lieutenant was expected 
at the plantation that evening, and that he would 
bring with him the mail, which was to be carried 
across the river at midnight. 

After paying the negro for his chickens, in order 
to deceive any one who might be watching them, 
Frank returned to the vessel, and informed the 
captain that, if he would give him twenty men, he 
would fulfill his promise. He did not acquaint him 
with what he had learned, however, for fear that 
the captain would send an officer with him, and 
thus rob him of the laurels now almost within his 
grasp.J 

As soon as it was dark, Frank picked out the 
men he wished to accompany him, and started off. 
His first care was to quietly surround the house. 
After he had placed his men to his satisfaction, he 



108 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

removed his sword, thrust a brace of revolvers 
into his pocket, and walked up and knocked at 
the door. It was opened by the youngest of the 
girls, who started back and turned pale when she 
saw the young officer ; but instantly recovering her 
presence of mind, she exclaimed: 

"Good evening, Mr. Nelson; walk in. Allow 
me to introduce to you my cousin, Mr. Williams," 
she continued, as they entered the parlor. 

As she spoke, a tall, handsome young man rose 
from his seat, and made a low bow. It was none 
other than Lieutenant Miller; for there was the 
scar on his cheek, which had been described to him 
by the negro. 

After returning the rebel s salutation, Frank 
seated himself on the sofa, and said: 

" I shall trouble you only a moment. I merely 
came here on a little matter of business. I under 
stand that there is a rebel mail to be carried across 
the river, from this house, to-night." 

The suddenness with which this announcement 
was made was astounding. Mrs. Phillips appeared 
ready to faint ; Annie turned very pale ; and the 
lieutenant raised his hand to his breast, as if about 
to draw a weapon. 



A UNION FAMILY. 109 

"What do you mean, sir?" inquired Mr. Phil 
lips, with well-feigned surprise. 

"I mean," answered Frank, "that, since we an 
chored opposite this house, we have been associa 
ting with the worst kind of rebels. Put down your 
hand, Lieutenant Miller ! If I see you make that 
move again, I shall be obliged to shoot you. You 
have professed to be Union people," continued 
Frank, settling himself back in his seat, and coolly 
crossing his legs, "and have been treated as such; 
you have, however, attempted to betray us, by com 
municating such of our plans and movements as you 
could learn to the rebels. But you have been 
discovered at last. You, gentlemen, will please 
consider yourselves my prisoners. Miss Phillips, 
have the kindness to produce that mail-bag, and 
the signal-book you took from the captain. If you 
refuse, I shall be obliged to take you on board the 
ship, as a prisoner." 

The girl saw that there was no alternative, and 
she pulled from under the sofa, where Frank sat, 
the mail-bag, which appeared to be well filled with 
letters, and dispatched a servant to her room after 
the signal-book, which was to have been sent across 
he river with the mail. 



110 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

After Frank had relieved the lieutenant of his 
weapons, he called two of his men into the house, 
and, after delivering the prisoners into their charge, 
returned to the vessel. 

That evening the captain examined the mail, and 
found several letters which showed, beyond a doubt, 
that their prisoners were connected with the rebel 
army; and they were, accordingly, sent to the 
Admiral, on the first steamer that went up the 
river. 

About two weeks afterward, the captain of the 
Ticonderoga received orders to proceed with his 
vessel to Helena, and take command of an expedi 
tion which was preparing to start down the Yazoo 
Pass. They found the fleet, consisting of the Man 
hattan, six "tin-clads," and several transports, 
loaded with troops, assembled in Moon Lake, which 
was about six miles from the Mississippi River; 
and, on the 23d day of February, they entered the 
pass, the Ticonderoga leading the way. 

The west shore of Moon Lake was bounded by 
a swamp, through which ran the pass, which was 
just wide enough to admit one good-sized vessel. 
It was filled with trees, which stood so close to 
gether that it seemed impossible to work a passage 



A UNION FAMILY. Ill 

through them; and the men on deck were con 
stantly in danger of being killed by falling limbs. 
They advanced slowly, sometimes making not 
more than four miles in a day ; and it was almost 
two weeks before they reached Coldwater River. 



112 



FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 



CHAPTER X. 




the afternoon of the day of their 
arrival, the Ticonderoga tied up in 
front of a large plantation-house. As 
soon as the vessel was made fast to the 
bank, the captain turned to the execu 
tive officer, and exclaimed: 

"Mr. Smith, please call away one 
company of small-armed men. Mr. Nelson," he 
continued, turning to Frank, " I wish you to take 
command of the company, and go ashore and 
search that house for fire-arms, and bring on 
board all you find." 

"Very good, sir," answered Frank; and he 
hurried down to his room to buckle on his sword 
and revolver. 

In a few minutes the company was formed on 
deck, and Frank marched them out on the bank 



A SPUNKY REBEL. 113 

arid then up to the house. His first care was to 
surround the building, so that, in case there were 
any men in it, their escape would be entirely cut 
off. He then, in company with the boatswain s 
mate and two men, walked up and knocked at the 
door. After some delay, the summons was an 
swered by a negro woman, who scowled upon 
him, and waited for him to make known his wants. 

" Is your master or mistress in ? " inquired 
Frank. 

"Yes, missus is h ar," answered the woman, 
gruffly. 

"Well, I should like to see her." 

"Den you stay h ar, an I ll ax her if she 
wants to see you." 

" No, aunty, that won t do. I must see her, 
whether she wants to see me or not;" and Frank 
unceremoniously entered the house, followed by 
his men. 

"Now, where is your mistress, aunty?" he in 
quired. 

" She s up stairs," answered the woman. 

"Well, then," said Frank, turning to the boat 
swain s mate, "you come with me, and let the 
others remain here until we return." 
8 



114 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

Frank then ascended the stairs, arid very easily 
found his way to the room where the lady was ; 
and, as he entered, he politely removed his 
cap. 

"Well, sir," said the lady, in no very pleasant 
tone, "what do you wish?" 

"I have been ordered to come here and search 
your house for fire-arms," replied Frank. 

" I suppose I shall be obliged to submit to it, 
for I have not the power to prevent you ; if I had, 
I should certainly use it. But, I hope you will 
be gentleman enough not to steal every thing we 
have in the house." 

Frank s face reddened to the very roots of his 
hair at this insult, and he replied, in a voice choked 
with indignation: 

"No, madam, we shall disturb nothing. I hope 
you do not take us for thieves;" and he turned 
and tried a door, (several of which opened off the 
room in which the lady was sitting), but it was 
fastened on the other side 

"That s a bed-room," exclaimed the lady, an 
grily. "I hope you are not going in there!" 

" Certainly I am, madam. I am going into 
every nook and corner of your house. My orders 



A SPUNKY REBEL. 115 

were to search your building, and I intend to obey 
them. Is there any one in here?" 

"Yes, sir; my daughters are in there." 

"Then, why don t they open this door?" and 
Frank, who was getting out of patience, pounded 
loudly upon the door with the butt of his revolver. 

"Is that you, mother?" inquired a voice from 
the room. 

"No," answered Frank, "it isn t mother; but 
open this door." 

" Yes, in a minute." 

" Open this door immediately," repeated Frank, 
who began to suspect that he had been purposely 
delayed. 

But the persons in the room made no reply; 
when the boatswain s mate, at a sign from Frank, 
raised his foot, and, with one kick of his heavy 
boot, sent the door from its hinges. Loud screams 
issued from the room, which, as Frank entered, 
he found to be occupied by two young ladies, who, 
judging from the overturned work-basket, and the 
half-finished articles of apparel which were scat- 
tered about over the floor, had been engaged in 
sewing. 

"Don t be alarmed, ladies," said Frank, "you 



116 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

shall not be harmed. Jack," he continued, turn 
ing to the boatswain s mate, "just examine that 
bed." 

"Oh, don t," exclaimed one of the young ladies, 
"don t, for mercy s sake. Do go away from 
here." 

" Ellen," exclaimed her mother, who had fol 
lowed Frank into the room, " do n t make a child 
of yourself. I am surprised at you." 

"We shall leave every thing just as we find it," 
said Frank, who was a good deal surprised at the 
conduct of the girl. "All we want is the fire 
arms, if you have any in the house." 

"Yes, we have got some here," said Ellen, 
" and I will get them for you ;" and she drew out 
from the bed-clothes two beautifully-finished rifles, 
a quantity of ammunition, a cavalry sword, and a 
double-barreled shot-gun. " There," she exclaimed, 
as she handed them to Frank ; " there are no 
more in this room. Now, do go away." 

" Ellen," said her mother, who was evidently 
very anxious about the girl s conduct, "will you 
keep quiet?" 

"Don t say any thing to him, Ellen," said her 
sister, whose name was Mary; "don t ask any 



A SPUNKY REBEL. 117 

favors of a Yankee. Let him stay here till dooms 
day if" 

She was interrupted by a loud scream from 
Ellen; and the mate, who had been "reconnoiter- 
\ng" under the bed, exclaimed: 

"Here you are! Come out o that, you son of 
\ sea-cook ;" and he seized something which strug 
gled and fought furiously, but all to no purpose, 
for the mate soon pulled into sight a tall man, 
dressed in the uniform of a rebel officer. 

Ellen screamed and cried louder than ever, and 
even her mother could not refrain from shedding 
tears ; but Mary, although pale as death, retained 
her haughty look, and was evidently too proud to 
manifest any feeling in the presence of a Federal 
officer. 

" I know^ed there was something of this kind 
goin on, sir," said Jack, turning to his officer, and 
giving his pants a hitch; "I knowed, by the way 
the young lady handed over them we pons, that 
there was something about that bed she did n t 
want us to see." 

" Yes, Ellen," said the rebel, " I have to thank 
you for my capture. If it had n t been for your 
crying and whimpering, I might have" 



118 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

"Escaped," exclaimed Jack. "No, sir; not so 
easy. Do n t go to jawin her, now, cause yer 
ketched. Come, now," he continued, " let s have 
yer we pons." 

The rebel coolly handed out two silver-mounted 
revolvers, which the mate thrust into his belt. 

" Now, I hope you re satisfied," said Mary, im 
patiently; "and are ready to go and leave us in 
peace." 

"Not quite," answered Frank. "I have not 
yet obeyed my orders. As I said before, I must 
see the inside of every room in your house. Jack, 
send two men on board the ship with that prisoner." 

"Ay, ay, sir," answered the mate, touching his 
cap. " Come, you corn-fed, march." 

The mother and sisters of the rebel crowded 
around him, to say good-by; and, in spite of the 
unladylike, and even insulting manner with which 
they had treated him, Frank could not help pity 
ing them. 

When the mate had seen the prisoner safe or 
the boat, he went back, and Frank continued his 
search. But no more weapons or prisoners being 
found, he and his men returned on board, well sat 
isfied with their success. 



A SPUNKY REBEL. 119 

After supper, as Frank was walking up and 
down the deck, arm in arm with one of his brother 
officers, the orderly approached, and, touching his 
cap, informed him that the captain wished to see 
him. 

" Mr. Nelson," said the captain, as Frank en 
tered the cabin, "come here." 

Frank followed the captain to one of the after 
windows, and the latter inquired : 

"Do vou see that?" 

Frank looked in the direction indicated by the 
captain, and was surprised to see a rebel flag float 
ing from one of the windows of the house. 

" Yes, sir ; I see it," said Frank. 

" Well, sir, go over there, and tell those women 
to have that flag taken in and sent on board this 
ship. Don t touch it yourself: they put it out 
there, and they must take it in. That J s a pretty 
piece of impudence, indeed a rebel flag floating 
in the breeze in the face of a Federal vessel of 
war ! " and the eccentric captain paced up and 
down his cabin, in a state of considerable excite 
ment. 

Frank started off, and in a few moments again 
stood before the mistress of the house. 



120 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

"You re here again, sir, are you?" she asked, 
petulantly. 

" Yes, ma am," replied Frank, not the least an 
noyed by the tone in which he was addressed, or 
the sharp glances which the ladies threw at him, 
" I m here ; and I came to tell you that the captain 
Y/ishes you to have that rebel flag removed from 
your window, and sent on board the ship." 

" Is there any thing else your captain wants ? " 
inquired Mary, with a sneer. 

" No, ma am, not at present; but he wishes that 
flag taken down immediately." 

The ladies made no reply. After a moment s 
pause, Frank inquired: 

"Do you intend to comply with his orders?" 

"I did not put the flag up there," said the 
mother. 

"It makes no difference who put it up there, 
madam," said Frank, warmly, "it must come down; 
and I would advise you not to hesitate long, for 
the captain is not one who can be trifled with." 

As Frank ceased speaking, Mary touched a sig 
nal-bell, which stood on the table near her. A 
servant appeared almost instantly, and the young 
lady said: 



A SPUNKY REBEL. 121 

this man out." 

Frank, who saw that it would do no good to 
lemainj put on his cap and followed the servant 
down stairs. 

"Well, what did they say?" inquired the cap 
tain, when Frank again entered the cabin. 

" They did n t say any thing, sir," replied Frank. 
" They neither said they would, nor they would not, 
take it down." 

Frank was careful not to say a word about the 
manner in which they had treated him, for he knew 
it would only irritate the captain, and make mat 
ters worse. 

" They did n t say whether they would take it 
down or not, eh ! " exclaimed the captain. " Please 
help yourself to a chair, Mr. Nelson, and, in a few 
moments, I will give you your orders." 

Frank accordingly took a seat, and the captain 
stationed himself at the window, with his watch 
in his hand. Frank knew by this that the captain 
had granted the rebels a few moments grace ; and 
he also knew that, unless the flag came down soon, 
and was sent on board the vessel, something un 
pleasant would happen. At length the allotted 
time expired, and the captain said: 



122 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

" Mr. Nelson, take a dozen men, and go ashore 
Give those women just ten minutes to remove their 
furniture, and then fire the house. No building 
shall float a secesh flag, and stand, while I have the 
power to burn it." 

This time the ladies made no remark when Frank 
entered the room where they were sitting, for they 
knew by his looks that they were about to receive 
the punishment their folly merited. 

" Madam," said Frank, speaking in a tone which 
showed how much he dreaded to break the intelli 
gence, " I am ordered to burn your house." 

"Yes," answered the mother, bitterly; "I ex 
pected that to be your next errand. I suppose 
your brutal captain will feel perfectly satisfied 
when he sees us deprived of a home." 

" I thought the Yankees were too gallant to 
make war on women and children," chimed in Mary. 
" That has always been their boast," continued she, 
very spitefully. 

" So they are," replied Frank. " But the cap 
tain is one who will not tolerate an exhibition of 
treason in any one, be it man, woman, or child. 
You have no one to blame but yourselves. But 
we have no time to waste in argument. I will give 



A SPUNKY REBEL. 123 

you ten minutes in which to remove your furniture, 
and will assist you, if you wish it." 

" We can take care of ourselves," said the 
mother. "No one asked you for assistance." 

Frank made no reply; and the ladies, assisted 
by their servants, immediately commenced the re 
moval of the most valuable articles , and when the 
time had expired, a straw-bed was pulled into the 
middle of the floor, a match was applied to it, and 
the house was soon enveloped in flames. 

Frank could not help pitying the women, who 
were thus obliged to stand by and witness the 
destruction of their home. But he knew that they 
had brought it on themselves, and that they de 
served it ; and, besides, he had only done his duty, 
for he was acting under orders. 

The women, however, did not seem to be in the 
least concerned; for when the roof fell in with a 
crash, Mary commenced the rebel air, "Bonnie 
Blue Flag," and sang it through to the end. 
Frank admired her " spunk," even though her 
sympathies were enlisted in a bad cause. 

He remained until the house was entirely con 
sumed, and then returned on board his vessel. 



124 



FKANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 



CHAPTER XI 




,N the afternoon of the following 
day, while it was Frank s watch on 
deck, as the Ticonderoga came suddenly 
around an abrupt bend in the river, a 
puff of smoke rose from behind an em 
bankment, about half a mile in advance, 
while a shell whistled over the vessel, 
and dropped into the water without exploding. 

Frank immediately requested the pilot to blow 
four whistles, which was a signal to the other boats 
that they were attacked; and, after sending the 
messenger-boy below to report to the captain, he 
raised his glass to his eye, and found that they 
were directly in front of a good-sized fort, built 
of cotton bales and embankments, and mounting 
at least five heavy guns. A Hag-staff rose from 
the center of the fort, and supported the " stars 



FRANK A PRISONER. 125 

and bars," which flaunted defiantly in the breeze. 
This was Fort Pemberton, the only formidable 
fortification the rebels had between the Mississippi 
and Yazoo Rivers. 

The captain came on deck immediately, and or 
dered the vessel to be stopped; and, when the 
other boats came up, they were ordered to take 
their stations along the bank, on each side of the 
river, out of range of the guns of the fort. When 
the entire fleet had assembled, the Ticonderoga, 
in company with the Manhattan, steamed down, 
and opened fire on the fort, with a view to ascer 
tain its strength. The fort replied vigorously, and, 
after an hour s firing, the vessels withdrew. 

The next morning, at an early hour, the troops 
were landed, but, for some reason, it was afternoon 
before they were ready to march. At three 
o clock they were drawn up in line in the woods, 
about two miles from the fort, where the men 
stacked arms, and stretched themselves out in the 
shade of the trees. 

In the mean time the iron-clads had been pre 
paring for the fight. The magazines were opened 
and lighted ; the casemates covered with a coat of 
grease, to glance the shot which might strike them ; 



. 26 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

the men were at their stations, and when all was 
ready, they steamed down toward the fort, the 
Ticonderoga leading the way. 

Frank, by attention to his duties, had rapidly 
learned the gun-drill, and had been promoted to 
the command of one of the guns in the turret. 
He thought he had become quite accustomed to 
the noise of bullets, but he could not endure the 
silence that then reigned in the ship. The men, 
stripped to the waist, stood at their guns as 
motionless as so many statues ; and, although Frank 
tried hard to exhibit the same indifference that they 
did, his mind was exceedingly busy, and it seemed 
to him that he thought of every thing he had 
done during his life. Oh, how he longed to hear 
the order passed to commence firing ! Any thing 
was preferable to that awful stillness. 

At length, the captain came into the turret, where 
he always took his station in action, and glanced 
hastily at the countenance of each of the officers 
and men. He seemed satisfied with his examina 
tion, for he immediately took his stand where he 
could see all that was going on, and gave orders 
to the pilot to head the vessel directly toward the 
fort ; and then every thing relapsed into that horii- 



FRANK A PRISONER. 127 

ble silence again. But this did not continue long ; 
for, the moment they came within range, the fort 
opened on them, and a solid shot struck the case 
mate directly over Frank s gun, with a force that 
seemed to shake the entire vessel. Frank glanced 
at the captain, and saw him standing with his elbow 
on the starboard gun, and his head resting on his 
hand, watching the fort as coolly as though they 
had been engaged only in target practice. 

The shells from the fort continued to fall around 
them, but the captain neither changed his position 
nor gave the order to fire. The port-holes in the 
turret were all closed, with the exception of the 
one at which the captain stood, and, of course, no 
one could see what was going on. Frank began 
to grow impatient. He did not like the idea of 
being shot at in that manner without returning 
the fire. At length the captain inquired : 

"What have you in your gun, Mr. Nelson?" 

"A five-second shell, sir," answered Frank, 
promptly. 

" Very well. Run out your gun and give them 
a shot." 

The men sprang to their stations in an instant ; 
the ports flew open with a crash, and the hea-vy 



128 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

gun was run out as easily as though it had been a 
twelve-pounder. The first captain seized the lock- 
string; there was a deafening report, and an eleven- 
inch shell went booming into the fort. The force 
of the discharge ran the gun back into the turret 
again, and the ports closed as if by magic. They 
did not close entirely, however, for there was a 
space of about four inches left between them, to 
allow for the action of the rammer in loading. 
The gun was sponged, the cartridge driven home, 
and the gunner s mate stood at the muzzle of the 
gun, removing the cap from a shell, when a percus 
sion shell from the fort struck in the space between 
the shutters and exploded. The discharge set fire 
to the shell which the gunner s mate was holding 
in his hand, and the unfortunate man was blown 
almost to atoms. 

In naval actions there is nothing which will 
carry such terror and dismay among a ship s com 
pany as the bursting of one of their own shells; 
and the scene which followed the explosion in the 
turret of the Ticonderoga beggars all description. 
Old seamen, who had been in many a hard-fought 
battle, and had stood at their guns under the most 
deadly fire the enemy could pour upon them, with- 



FRANK A PRISONER. 129 

out flinching, now deserted their stations, and ran 
about through the blinding and suffocating smoke 
that filled the turret, with blanched cheeks, tram 
pling each other under their feet, and utterly dis 
regarding the commands of their officers, who ran 
among them with drawn swords, and endeavored 
to force them back to their guns. It was some 
time before quiet was restored, and then Frank 
found, to his horror, that, out of twenty-five men 
which had composed his gun s crew, only ten were 
left. Four had been instantly killed, and eleven 
badly wounded. The deck was slippery with blood, 
and the turret was completely covered with it. 
The shrieks and groans of the wounded and dying 
were awful. Frank had never before witnessed 
such a scene, and, for a moment, he was so sick he 
could scarcely stand. But he had no time to waste 
in giving away to his feelings. After seeing the 
dead and wounded carried below, he returned to his 
station, and, with what was left of his gun s crew, 
fought bravely during the remainder of the action. 
The fight continued until after dark, when the 
captain, knowing that it would be impossible to 
capture the fort without the assistance of the 
troops, ordered a retreat. 
9 



130 FllANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

That same night a consultation of the naval and 
military commanders was held, and it was decided 
to renew the attack on the following morning. A 
battery of two thirty-pounder Parrotts was taken 
off one of the " tin-clads " and mounted on the 
bank, about half a mile back in the woods, and a 
mile from the fort. Captain Wilson, who com 
manded one of the musquito boats, was ordered to 
take command of it, and Frank, at his own request, 
was permitted to accompany him as his a^d. He 
started early the next morning with fifty men, who 
had been detailed from the gun-boats, and at sun 
rise was at his station. 

The battery was masked, and the rebels knew 
nothing of its existence. The captain s orders 
were, not to fire until they heard the action opened 
by the iron-clads. Twenty-eight men were re 
quired to man the guns, and the others, armed with 
Spencer rifles, were to act as sharp-shooters. 
Frank, to his surprise, soon learned that this was 
all the support they were to have, the troops hav 
ing been ordered to take the same station they had 
occupied the day before, and to hold themselves 
in readiness to charge upon the fort, as soon as 
the iron-clads had silenced the guns. 



FRANK A PRISONER. 131 

About ten o clock the fort commenced firing, and 
Frank knew that the gun-boats were again under 
way. At length a loud report, which he could 
have recognized among a thousand, blended with 
the others, and, in obedience to the order of the 
captain, the men tore away the bushes which had 
masked the battery, and the fight became general. 

Frank directed his fire upon a pile of cotton-bales, 
which protected one of the largest guns of the fort; 
but, as fast as he knocked them down, the rebels 
would recklessly spring out of the fort and put 
them up again. At length Captain Wilson ordered 
the sharp-shooters to advance five hundred yards 
nearer the fort. The rebels soon discovered this, 
and the cotton-bales were allowed to remain where 
they had fallen. 

In half an hour that part of the fort was com 
pletely demolished ; and the rebels, being without 
protection against the sharp-shooters, were obliged 
to abandon the gun. 

While Frank was congratulating himself on the 
fine shooting he had done, and wondering why the 
troops were not ordered to charge, he was startled 
by the rapid report of muskets behind him. Three 
of his men fell dead where they had stood ; and 



132 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

Frank turned just in time to see a party of rebels 
issuing from the woods. They came on with loud 
yells; and one of them, who appeared to be the 
leader, called out : 

" Surrender, now, you infernal Yankees. Shoot 
down the first one who resists or attempts to es 
cape," he added, turning to his men. 

" Stand to your guns, my lads ! " shouted Cap 
tain Wilson. " Do n t give ground an inch." 

The sailors, always accustomed to obedience, 
gathered around their officers, and poured a mur 
derous fire upon the advancing enemy, from their 
revolvers. The rebels, who were greatly superior 
in numbers, returned the fire, and the captain fell, 
mortally wounded. But the sailors stubbornly 
stood their ground, until the rebels closed up 
about them, and Frank saw that escape was im 
possible. But he fought like a young tiger, and 
determined that he would die before he would sur 
render ; for even death was preferable to a long 
confinement in a Southern prison. 

" Drop that pistol ! " exclaimed a rebel, point 
ing his rifle directly at Frank s head, "or I ll 
blow your brains out." 

"Blow away!" exclaimed Frank, seizing the 



FRANK A PRISONER. 133 

rebel s rifle, with a quick movement, and firing his 
revolver full in his face ; " I 11 never surrender 
as long as I have strength left to stand on my feet. 
Give it to em, lads !" 

The next moment Frank was prostrated by a 
severe blow on the head from the butt of a mus 
ket, and the sailors, finding that both their officers 
were gone, lost all heart, and threw down their 
weapons. 

The rebels had scarcely time to collect their 
prisoners and retreat, when the troops, who had 
heard the noise of the conflict, and started to the 
rescue, arrived. But they were too late ; for in 
less than half an hour Frank and his men were 
safe in the fort, and confined under guard. 



134 



FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 



CHAPTER XII. 



ife 




RANK, as may be supposed, was 
not at all pleased with the pros 
pect before him. He had often heard 
escaped prisoners relate sad stories of 
the treatment they had received while 
in the hands of the rebels; and, as he 
knew that they cherished an especial 
hatred toward gun-boatmen, he could not hope tc 
fare very welL 

The place where he was confined was in the 
lower part of the fort, directly in range of the 
shells from the iron-clads, and Frank expected to 
be struck by them every moment, for the pieces 
flew about him in all directions. Oh, how he 
prayed that the fort might be taken! He could 
see that one of their heaviest guns was dismounted, 



THE ESCAPE. 135 

and a large detail of men was constantly occupied 
in carrying off the dead and wounded. 

The firing continued until four o clock in the 
afternoon, and then the gun-boats suddenly with 
drew. The rebels cheered loudly as they disap 
peared around a bend in the river, and Frank gave 
up all hope : nothing now remained for him but a 
long captivity. 

That evening, as soon as it was dark, he, with 
the other prisoners, was marched on board the 
General Quitman, a large steamer, lying just be 
low the fort, and carried to Haines Bluff, and from 
thence they went by rail to Vicksburg. Here 
Frank was separated from his men, and confined, 
for two days, with several army officers, in a small 
room in the jail. Early on the third morning he 
was again taken out, and sent across the river, into 
Louisiana, with about three hundred others. Their 
destination, he soon learned, was Tyler, a small 
town in Texas, where most of the Union prisoners 
captured in Mississippi were confined. 

They were guarded by a battalion of cavalry, 
under command of the notorious Colonel Harrison, 
who called themselves the " Louisiana Wild-cats." 
Frank had never before seen this noted regiment, 



136 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

and he found that they were very appropriately 
named; for a more ferocious looking set of men 
he had never met. They all wore long hair and 
whiskers; and their faces looked as though they 
had never been acquainted with soap and water. 
They were armed with rifles, Bowie-knives, and 
revolvers, and seemed to take pleasure in boasting 
of the number of women and children and unarmed 
men they had slain. 

They had not made more than a day s march, 
when Frank found that his troubles were just com 
mencing. He was not accustomed to marching, 
and his feet soon became so swollen that he could 
scarcely stand on them. The heat was almost in 
tolerable; the roads were very dusty, and the 
places where they were allowed to obtain water 
were many miles apart. Besides, as if to add to 
their sufferings, the rebels were continually steal 
ing from the prisoners, and, finally, some of them 
were left with scarcely any clothing ; and if the 
poor fellows ventured to remonstrate against such 
treatment, they were shot or bayoneted on the spot. 

On the fourth day of the march, Frank noticed 
a soldier, just in advance of him, who was so weak 
that he could scarcely keep his feet. He had been 



THE ESCAPE. 137 

wounded in the arm, at the late battle before 
Vicksburg, but not the least notice had been taken 
of it by the rebels, and he was suffering the most 
intense agony. Frank, although scarcely able to 
sustain himself, owing to the swollen condition of 
his feet, offered his assistance, which the poor fel 
low was glad enough to accept. But he continued 
to grow weaker every moment, and, finally, in spite 
of Frank s exertions, fell prostrate in the rodd. 

"What s the matter here?" inquired the colo 
nel, w r ho happened to be riding by. 

" This man is n t able to go any further," re 
plied Frank. 

" Then he does n t need any of your help, you 
young Abolitionist; get back to your place ! Here, 
Stiles," he continued, beckoning to one of his men, 
and bending upon him a glance of peculiar mean- 
ng, " you stay here until this man dies." 

The colonel rode up to the head of the column 
agaia, and Frank was obliged to move on with the 
others. But he could not relieve his mind of a 
feeling that something more dreadful than any 
thing he had yet seen was about to take place. 
He frequently turned and looked back, and saw 
the man lying where he had fallen, and the rebel, 



138 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

who had dismounted from his horse, standing over 
him, leaning on his rifle. At length a bend in the 
road hid them from sight. In a few moments, 
Frank heard the report of a gun, and pres 
ently the rebel rode up, with the coat, pants, and 
boots which had once belonged to the soldier, 
hanging on his arm. Such scenes as this were 
enacted every day; but, for some unaccountable 
reason, Frank was not molested, beyond having his 
boots stolen one night while he was asleep. He 
had made up his mind that he would escape at the 
first opportunity ; but he was in no condition to 
travel, and, besides, the sight of several ferocious 
blood-hounds, which accompanied the rebels, was 
enough to deter him from making the attempt. 

After a march of two weeks, during which he 
suffered more than he had thought it possible for 
him to endure, they arrived at Shreveport. Here 
they encamped for the night, with the understand 
ing that they were to start for Tyler which w/as 
one hundred and ten miles further on early the 
next morning. Frank concluded that he had 
walked about far enough. " If I intend to escape," 
he soliloquized, " I might as well start from here 
as from Tyler. I 11 play off sick, and see if I 



THE ESCAPE. 139 

can t get them to leave me here ; and then, as soon 
as I become strong enough to travel, I 11 be missed 
some fine day." 

Accordingly, the next morning, when the pris 
oners were ordered to "fall in," Frank did not 
stir; and, when the sergeant came to arouse him, 
he appeared to be in the greatest agony. So well 
did he play his part, that the doctor declared that 
it was impossible for him to go on; and he was ac 
cordingly left behind. As soon as the prisoners 
had gone, he was carried to the hospital, which was 
a large brick building, standing on the outskirts of 
the town. The lower floor was used as a barrack 
for the soldiers who guarded the building, and the 
upper rooms as a hospital and guard-house. Frank 
found about fifteen Federal soldiers, and as many 
rebels, who were confined for various offenses, prin 
cipally desertion. 

Frank soon became acquainted with his fellow- 
prisoners, and the stories they told of their treat 
ment made the cold sweat start out all over him ; 
but when he spoke of escape, he was surprised to 
find that there was not one among them who dared 
to make the attempt. But this did not alter his 
determination. He resolved that, rather than re- 



] 10 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

main in prison, he would go alone. He grew 
stronger every day, and succeeded in securing a 
pair of shoes, and a compass, for which he gave 
the last shirt he had. His determination was to 
take to the woods, until he had escaped pursuit, and 
then strike for Red River. He knew that this 
route would bring him out a good distance below 
Vicksburg, but still it would be easier and safer 
than traveling across the country; and he hoped 
that the rebel stronghold would be taken by the 
time he reached the Mississippi River. 

Finally, one dark night after he had well ma 
tured his plans he concluded to make the trial. 
So, waiting until every one in the room appeared to 
be asleep for he had been told that there were some 
who must know nothing of his intention he care 
fully raised one of the windows, and looked out. 
He had made all his observations beforehand, and 
knew that the window was about twenty feet above 
the ground. He had tried in vain to obtain a 
rope strong enough to assist him in his descent; 
and his only alternative was, to hang by his hands 
and "drop** to the ground, where, he hoped, aided 
by the darkness, to escape the fire of the guards. 

He was crawling noiselessly out of the window, 



THE ESCAPED 141 

when he was startled by the creaking of the stairs, 
as if some one was descending them; and, at the 
same time, hasty footsteps sounded under the win 
dow. Frank saw that he had been discovered, and, 
hastily climbing back into the room, he closed the 
window and threw himself on the floor, and ap 
peared to be fast asleep. 

" Very well done ! " exclaimed an officer, who 
suddenly appeared at the top of the stairs. " Very 
well done, indeed. Now, you young Yankee, I 
do n t Avant to see you try that move again. If you 
do, I shall be obliged to shoot you. Do you under 
stand?" 

Frank replied in the affirmative ; and the officer, 
after satisfying himself that the prisoners were all 
in the room, went below again, leaving a guard at 
the head of the stairs, who kept a close watch upon 
Frank until morning. 

He was a good deal annoyed and perplexed at 
the unsuccessful termination of his adventure ; but 
he could not make up his mind what it was that had 
led to his discovery. Still, he was not discouraged ; 
but, in spite of the officer s warning, determined to 
renew his attempt at escape, as soon as an oppor 
tunity was offered. 



142 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

The next day, while he was eating his scanty din 
ner, the lieutenant in charge of the prisoners came 
in, and, as was his custom, began to argue with 
them as to the probable termination of the war. 
Frank had always hoped that he would let him 
alone, for the lieutenant invariably became enraged 
if the prisoners endeavored to uphold their Govern 
ment. 

"Well, young man," he exclaimed, walking up 
to Frank, "how do you get along?" 

"As well as can be expected, I suppose," an 
swered Frank. 

"How do you relish being a prisoner? Are 
you not sorry that you ever took up arms against 
us?" 

" No, I am not," answered Frank, indignantly. 
"You ll have to fight me again, as soon as I get 
out of this scrape." 

"What made you come down here to fight us?" 

" Because I thought you needed a good drub- 
bing." 

"Well, we haven t had it yet;" said the lieu 
tenant, stroking his moustache. " Why did n t you 
take Fort Pemberton? You got the worst of it 
there. We sunk the Ticonderoga." 



THE ESCAPE. 143 

" Oh, yes," answered Frank, with a sneer, " no 
doubt of it. But, on the whole, I think you had 
better tell that to the marines." 

" You do n t believe it, then ! Well, how do you 
think this war is going to end ? " 

" Now, see here," said Frank, u I wish you would 
travel on, and let me alone. I am a prisoner, and 
in your power; and I do n t want to be abused for 
speaking my mind; for, if I answer your ques 
tions at all, I shall say just what I think." 

u That is what I like," said the lieutenant. 
"You need not be afraid to speak your mind 
freely. Now, tell me, how do you think this 
struggle will end ? " 

"There is only one way for it to end, and that 
is in your subjugation." 

"But what is your object in fighting us?" 

" To preserve the Union ! " 

" You re a liar ! " shouted the lieutenant. 
" You re fighting to free the niggers." 

Well, have it your own way," answered Frank. 
"But, if I in a liar, you re a gentleman, so take it 
and go on. You need not ask me any more ques 
tions, for I shan t answer them." 

The lieutenant muttered something about hang- 



N 

144 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

ing every Yankee he could catch if he could have 
his own way, and moved away; and Frank was 
left to finish his dinner in peace. 

That afternoon, a soldier, whose name was Cabot, 
came and sat down beside Frank, and inquired : 

" Did n t you try to escape last night?" 

" Yes, but I was discovered." 

"You would not have been, if one of our own 
men had n t split on you." 

"What!" exclaimed Frank, "you don t pretend 
to say that a Federal soldier was mean enough to 
inform against me?" 

" Yes, I do ; and there he stands now." And, as 
Cabot spoke, he pointed to a tall, hard-featured 
man standing by the window, looking out into the 
street. "I slept at the head of the stairs last 
night, and distinctly heard him tell the guards that 
you were intending to leave. His name is Bishop, 
and he belongs to the Thirtieth Maine Regiment. 
He has for some time past been trying to be al 
lowed to take the oath of allegiance to the South."* 

"What will he do then?" inquired Frank; "go 
into the rebel army?" 

* A fact. 



THE ESCAPE. 145 

"No, but he could be employed here in the ar- 
eenal, making bullets to kill our own men with." 

" The scoundrel ! " exclaimed Frank, indignantly ; 
"I didn t suppose there was a man from my own 
State who could be guilty of such meanness." 

"Ho is mean enough for any thing. Haven t 
you noticed that every night he comes around 
through our quarters with a candle ? " 

"Yes; but I don t know what he does it 
for." 

"Well, he counts us every night before he goes 
to sleep, and, in fact, comes through our room two 
or three times in the night, to see that none of us 
have escaped. He hopes in that manner to gain 
favor with the rebels. I have told you this, in or 
der that you may look out for him the next time 
you try to escape." 

Frank was astounded at this intelligence, and, at 
first, he did not believe it. But that evening, 
about nine o clock, Bishop came in, as usual, with 
his candle, and Frank inquired: 

"What made you tell the guard that I was going 
to escape last night?" 

The question was asked so suddenly and in a 
manner which showed Bishop that Frank was well 
10 



146 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

acquainted with his treachery that he dared not 
deny the charge, and he answered : 

" Because, when any of our boys escape, the 
guards are awful hard on those of us that are left." 

"That s no excuse at all," answered Frank, 
"If you were a man, you would have endeavored 
to escape long ago, instead of staying here and 
trying to make friends with the enemies of your 
country. You re a black-hearted scoundrel and 
traitor! and I tell you, once for allj that if you 
ever come into my quarters again after dark, 
you 11 never go out alive. We all know about 
your operations here." 

Bishop made no reply, but turned to walk on, 
when Frank rose to his feet, and exclaimed: 

"Hold on, here! you are not going through 
this room with that candle. Go back instantly 
where you belong, and don t show your face in 
here again." 

Bishop saw that Frank was in earnest, and, with 
out saying a word, he turned and walked into his 
quarters. 

Frank had a twofold object in talking to him 
as he did. He wanted to let him know that his 
fellow-prisoners all knew what he had done, and 



THE ESCAPE. 147 

he wished, also, to deter him from coming into 
that room again, as he had deti Trained to make 
another attempt at escape that very night. The 
traitor had no sooner disappeared than Frank de 
scended the stairs that led down into the hall, 
at the foot of which there were two guards 
posted. 

"Hallo, Yank!" said one of them, as Frank 
came down, "I reckon as how you had better 
travel right back up sta rs agin, cause it s agin 
orders to low you fellers to come down here a ter 
dark." 

"I know it is," answered Frank; "but it is so 
awful hot up stairs that I can t stand it. You 11 
let me stay down here long enough to cool off a 
little, won t you?" 

"Wai," answered the guard, who really seemed 
to be a kind-hearted fellow, " I reckon as how you 
mought stay here a minit; but you mustn t stay 
no longer." 

"All right," answered Frank; and he seated 
himself on the lower step, and talked with the 
guards until he was informed that it was high time 
he was " travelin back up sta rs." 

" Very well," answered Frank, rising to his feet, 



148 FKANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

and stretching himself, "I ll go, if you want me 
to." 

And he did go. With one bound he dashed by 
the astonished guards, and, before they could fire 
a shot, he had disappeared in the darkness. 

His escape had been accomplished much easier 
than he had anticipated. He had expected at 
least a shot from the guards, and, perhaps, a 
struggle with them ; for, when he left his quarters, 
he had determined to escape, or die in the attempt. 
In a few moments he reached the bushes thnt 
lined the road on both sides, and threw himself 
flat among them, and determined to wait until his 
pursuers had passed on, so that he would be on 
their trail, instead of having them on his. It was 
well that he had adopted this precaution, for he 
had scarcely concealed himself before the roll of a 
drum announced that the guards were being 
aroused, and that the pursuit was about to com 
mence; and presently a squad of cavalry dashed 
rapidly by, and a crashing in the bushes told him 
that a party of men were searching the woods for 
him. As soon as his pursuers were out of hear 
ing, Frank rose to his feet, and ran along the road, 
close to the bushes, so that, if he heard any one 



THE ESCAPE. 149 

approaching, he would have a place of concealment 
close at hand. He had made, perhaps, half a mile 
in this way, when he discovered a man pacing up 
and down the road, with a musket on his shoulder. 
lie was evidently a picket; and Frank, knowing 
that his comrades were not far off, drew back into 
the bushes, out of sight. Which way should he 
go now? This was a question which he could not 
answer satisfactorily. There was, doubtless, another 
picket-post not far off, and if, in going through 
the woods, he should stumble upon it, he would be 
shot down before he had a chance for flight. 
Should he attempt to pass the sentinel by strategy? 
This seemed to be the most feasible plan, for he 
would have a much better chance to escape in 
running by one man, than risking the shots of half 
a dozen. Besides, he had no weapon whatever, 
and he resolved to secure the picket s gun, if pos 
sible; so, waiting until his back was turned, he 
came out of his place of concealment, and ap 
proached him. 

" Who comes there ? " shouted the picket. 

"A friend," answered Frank. 

"Advance, friend, and give the countersign." 

"Never mind the countersign," answered Frank; 



150 FRANK ON A GIN-BOAT. 

" I have n t got it. Have you seen any thing of an 
escaped Yankee prisoner out here?" 

"No," answered the rebel, lowering his gun, 
which he had held at a charge bayonet. u llo 
did n t come around here. But a company of 
cavalry went by just now, and my relief went with 
them." 

"And left you here alone?" said Frank, who 
had continued to approach the picket, until he was 
now within arm s length of him. 

a Yes," answered the rebel ; " and I think it is 
a pretty way to do business, for it is time I was " 

He never finished the sentence ; for Frank 
sprang upon him like a tiger, and seizing his throat, 
with a powerful gripe, threw him to the ground; 
and, hastily catching up the musket which had 
fallen from his enemy s hand, dealt him a severe 
blow on the head. The muscles of the rebel in 
stantly relaxed ; and Frank after unbuckling his 
cartridge-box, and fastening it to his own waist 
shouldered his musket, and ran boldly along the 
road. He traveled until almost daylight, without 
Becing any one, and then turned off into the woods. 

About noon, he came to a road, and, as he was 
crossing it, a bullet whistled past him, and, the 



THE ESCAPE. 151 

next moment, a party of rebels, whom lie had not 
noticed, dashed down the road in pursuit. Frank 
returned the shot, and then started for the woods, 
loading his musket as he went. He soon had the 
satisfaction of seeing that he was gaining on his 
pursuers, and, although the bullets whizzed by his 
head in unpleasant proximity, he escaped unhurt. 
The rebels, however, were not so fortunate ; for 
Frank fired as fast as he could load his gun, and 
at every shot a rebel measured his length on the 
ground. 

For almost two hours his pursuers remained 
within gun-shot ; but finding it impossible to cap 
ture him, or, perhaps, struck with terror at his skill 
as a marksman, they abandoned the pursuit. This 
was a lucky circumstance for Frank, for, to his 
astonishment and terror, he discovered that his last 
cartridge had been expended. But still, he was 
rejoicing over his escape, when a man rose out of 
the bushes, close at his side, and seized him by the 
collar. 



152 



FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 



CHAPTER XIII 




AL, now, I ll be dog-gone, but you 
are lively on your legs, for a little 
one," exclaimed the rebel, with a 
laugh. " But you re a safe Yank 
now." 

"Not yet, I ain t," answered 
Frank. " I want you to understand 
that it s my principle never to surrender without a 
fight ;" and, suddenly exerting all his strength, he 
tore himself away from his captor, leaving part of 
his collar in his grasp. 

The rebel was taken completely by surprise, for 
he had supposed that Frank would surrender with 
out a struggle ; but the latter brought his musket 
to a charge bayonet, in a way that showed he wag 
in earnest. The rebel was the better armed, car 
rying a neat sporting rifle, to which was attached 



THE FAITHFUL NEGRO. 153 

a long, sharp saber-bayonet. Frank noticed this 
difference, but resolutely stood his ground, and, as 
he was very expert in the bayonet exercise, and 
as his enemy appeared to be but very little his 
superior in strength and agility, he had no fear as 
to the result of the conflict. 

At length the rebel, after eyeing his youthful an 
tagonist for a moment, commenced maneuvering 
slowly, intending, if possible, to draw him out. 
But Frank stood entirely on the defensive; fail 
ing in this mode of attack, the rebel began to grow 
excited, and became quicker in his movements. 
But his efforts were useless, for Frank although 
a little pale, which showed that he knew the struggle 
must end in the death of one or the other of them 
did not retreat an inch, but coolly parried every 
thrust made by his infuriated enemy, with the skill 
of a veteran. The rebel was again obliged to 
change his plan of attack, and commenced by 
rushing furiously upon Frank, endeavoring to 
beat down his guard by mere strength. But this 
proved his ruin; for Frank met him promptly at 
all points, and, watching the moment when the rebel 
carelessly opened his guard, he sprang forward and 
buried his bayonet to the hilt in his breast. The 



154 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

thrust was mortal, and the rebel threw his arms 
above his head, and sank to the ground without a 
groan. 

" I believe he s done for, 7 said Frank to him 
self; and he stepped up to take a nearer look at his 
enemy. There he lay, his pale face upturned, and 
the blood running from an ugly wound in the region 
of his heart. " I do believe he is dead," repeated 
Frank, with a shudder, as he gazed sorrowfully at 
the work he had done. " But there was no al 
ternative between his death and a long confinement 
in prison. It was done in self-defense;" and he 
turned to walk away. 

Just then the thought struck him that he would 
take the rebel s gun ; his own was worse than use 
less, for his cartridges had all been expended. So, 
throwing down his heavy musket, he picked up the 
rifle his enemy had carried, and, slinging the 
powder-horn and bullet-pouch over his shoulder, 
he started off through the woods. 

But where should he go? His escape, and the 
manner in which it was accomplished, had doubt 
less aroused the entire country. The woods around 
him were filled with rebels, and the question was, 
in which .direction .should he turn, to avoid them? 



THE FAITHFUL NEGRO. 155 

After some hesitation, he determined to go as di 
rectly through the woods, toward the river, as 
possible, and, if discovered, trust to his woodcraft 
and swiftne>s of foot to save him. With this de 
termination, he shouldered his rifle and walked 
rapidly on, taking care, however, to keep a good 
look-out on all sides, and to make as little noise 
as possible. All sounds of the pursuit had died 
away, and the woods were as silent as midnight. 
But even this was a source of fear to Frank ; for 
he knew not what tree or thicket concealed an en 
emy, nor how soon the stillness would be broken 
by the crack of a rifle and the whistle of a hostile 
bullet. 

At length the sun went down, and it began to 
grow dark ; but still Frank walked on, wishing to 
get as far away from the scene of the fight as pos 
sible. Presently he heard a sound that startled 
him : it was the clatter of horses hoofs, on a hard, 
well-beaten road. Nearer and nearer came the 
sound, and, in a few moments, a company of cav 
alry passed by, and Frank could distinctly hear 
them laughing and talking with each other. 

When they were out of hearing, he paused to 
deliberate. It was evident that he could not travel 



156 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

through those deep woods at night ; should he wait 
until it became dark, and then boldly follow the 
road, or should he remain where he was until morn 
ing? There was one great objection to the first 
proposition, and that was his uniform, and the 
danger he would run of being captured by the 
night patrol, which he knew were stationed at in 
tervals along the road. It did not seem possible 
for him to remain where he was ; for now, that he 
had partly got over his excitement, he began to 
feel the cravings of hunger ; in fact, it almost ren 
dered him desperate, and he began to wish that he 
had surrendered without a struggle, or that he had 
not attempted to escape at all, for, if he were a 
prisoner, he could probably obtain sufficient food to 
keep him from starving. But he knew that his 
time was too precious to be wasted with such fool 
ish thoughts ; besides, when he thought of home 
and his mother, who had evidently heard of his 
capture, all ideas of surrendering himself vanished, 
and he felt that he could endure any thing, even 
starvation, if he only had the assurance that he 
would see home once more. But he knew that 
wishing would not bring him out of his present 
difficulty: he "must work for his liberty; do every 



THE FAITHFUL NEGRO. 157 

thing in his power, and leave the rest to Provi 
dence. 

He started out again, and determined that his 
first step should be to reconnoiter the road. No 
one was in sight ; but, about a quarter of a mile 
down the road, on the other side, was a large plant 
ation-house, with its neat negro quarters cluster 
ing around it, and looking altogether like a little 
village. He knew that some of the cabins were 
inhabited, for he saw the smoke wreathing out of 
the chimneys ; could he not go to one of them, and 
obtain food ? He had often heard of escaped pris 
oners being fed and sheltered by the negroes ; why 
could not he throw himself under their protection? 
He must have something to satisfy his hunger ; 
and if he could but gain the woods on the oppo 
site side of the road, it would require but a few 
moments to reach the house. He determined to 
try it. Glancing hastily up and down the road, 
he clutched his rifle desperately, and started. A 
few rapid steps carried him across the road; he 
cleared the fence at a bound, and was out of sight, 
in the bushes, in a moment. He immediately 
started for the nearest cabin, and, in a few mo 
ments, came to a stand-still in a thicket of bushes 



158 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

just behind it. There was some one in the cabin, 
for he could see a light shining through the cracks 
between the logs ; and he distinctly heard the mu 
sic of a violin, and a voice singing : 

"The sun shines bright in my ole Kentucky home" 

But still he hesitated to advance ; his courage had 
failed him. What, if the negro for he was cer 
tain it was a negro in the cabin should betray 
him ? What if His reverie was suddenly inter 
rupted by the approach of a horseman on the road. 
Presently a rebel officer rode leisurely by. When 
he arrived opposite the house, a man, who was sit 
ting on the portico, and whom Frank had not 
noticed, hailed the horseman, who drew in his rein, 
and stopped. 

" Have you caught them all yet ? " inquired the 
man on the portico. 

"No," answered the officer; "not yet. One 
of them gave us the slip ; a little fellow ; belongs 
to the gun-boats. He s around here somewhere ; 
but we 11 have him to-morrow, for he can t escape. 
If he comes around here, and you think there is 
any chance to take him alive, just send down to 
the Forks for us. If not, you had better shoot 



TIIE FAITHFUL NEGRO. 150 

him. 1 would n t advise you to meddle with him 
much, however, for he s a dead shot, and fights 
like a cuss." 

"Did he kill any of the boys?" asked the man 
on the portico. 

" Yes ; he killed Bill Richards, who was on 
guard at the time he escaped, and stole his musket 
and cartridge-box. I suppose you heard of that. 
And then, when we got after him, he ran through 
the woods like a deer, loading his gun as he went, 
and every time he turned around, somebody had 
to drop. Finally, old Squire Davis s son overtook 
him, and they had a regular hand-to-hand fight; 
but the little one, as usual, came out at the top of 
the heap." 

" Did he kill young Davis ? " 

" Yes, as dead as a smelt ; stuck a bayonet clean 
through his heart. But I must be going. Keep 
an eye out for him ! " 

"All right," answered the man on the portico; 
and the horseman rode off. 

What Frank s feelings were, as he lay there in 
the bushes, and listened to this conversation every 
word of which he overheard we will not attempt 
to say. But it showed him that his enemies feared 



160 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

him, and dreaded to meet him single-handed ; and 
that, if he were retaken, his life would not be worth 
a moment s purchase. He had all along been per 
fectly aware that his case was desperate, and that 
he had undertaken something at which many a per 
son, with twice his years and experience, would 
have hesitated. His condition seemed utterly 
hopeless. He had never before realized his danger, 
or what would be his fate if he were captured ; but 
now all the difficulties before him seemed to stand 
out in bold relief. Yet this knowledge did not act 
upon him as with some persons ; it only nerved him 
for yet greater exertions, and with a determination 
to brave every danger before him. 

When the horseman had disappeard, and the 
man on the portice had returned to his seat, Frank 
again turned his attention to the cabin. After 
putting a new cap on his rifle, he threw it into the 
hollow of his arm, and crawled noiselessly out of 
his place of concealment. When he reached the 
cabin, he raised to his feet, boldly ascended the 
steps, and knocked at the door, intending, if his 
demand for food was not instantly complied with, 
to take it by force. 

"Who dar?" inquired a voice from the inside. 



THE FAITHFUL NEGRO. 161 

Frank made no reply, but was about to repeat 
the summons, when the door was thrown open, and 
an old, gray-headed negro woman appeared before 
him. Frank was about to make known his wants, 
when the woman, who had thrown the door wide 
open, to allow the light to fall upon him, ex 
claimed : 

"Why, de Lor Almighty bress us! Come in, 
chile. What is you standin out dar for? Come 
in, I tol you." And Frank was seized by the arm 
and pulled into the cabin, and the door was closed 
carefully behind him. 

"Stop dat ar fiddlin , ole man," continued the 
w r oman, addressing herself to an aged negro, who 
was seated in an easy chair in the chimney corner ; 
"stop dat ar fiddlin , an git up an give young 
massa dat cheer." 

"I don t wish to give you any trouble," said 
Frank. "I m not the least bit tired; but I would 
like something to eat." 

"No trouble t all, chile," said the old woman. 
"Now, don t you go talkin bout trouble. I 
knows who you is. Set down .dar." And the 
old w r oman pointed to the chair which the man 
had vacated. "I ll give you somethin to eat, 
11 



162 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

right away. Pomp, ole man, git up an cut some 
o dat ham;" and the woman bustled about in a 
state of considerable excitement. 

Frank hid his rifle behind a coat which hung in 
one corner of the cabin, and was about to take 
possession of the chair, when hasty steps were 
heard on the walk leading to the cabin. 

"Gorry mighty!" exclaimed the old negro, in 
alarm, "dar come de oberseer. Git under the 
bed quick, young massa. You 11 be safe dar 
quick." 

Frank had hardly time to act upon this sugges 
tion, when the door suddenly opened, and a shaggy 
head appeared. 

" Have n t you had your supper yet, Pomp, 
you black rascal?" inquired the overseer, wit 
nessing the preparations for cooking that were 
going on. 

" I J s only been home a few minutes, massa," 
answered Pomp. 

"Well, hurry up, then. I came here," continued 
the overseer, "to tell you that there is a Yankee 
prowling around, here somewhere; if he comes 
here, I want you to send for me. Do you under 
stand?" 



THE FAITHFUL NEGRO. 163 

" Yos, massa," answered Pomp. 

"Don t you feed him, or do any thing else lor 
him," continued the overseer. "If you do, I ll 
whip you to death. Now, mind what I tell you." 
And the overseer closed the door, and departed, 
to carry the same information and warning to the 
other cabins. 

As soon as the sound of his footsteps had died 
away, Pomp whispered : 

"All right now, young massa. You can come 
out now no danger. The oberseer won t cx)me 
to dis house g in dis night." 

Frank, accordingly, crawled out from under the 
bed, and seated himself in the easy chair, while 
the old woman went on with her cooking. In a few 
minutes, which seemed an age to Frank, however, 
the meal, which consisted of coffee, made of 
parched corn, ham, honey, and corn-bread, was 
ready. Frank thought he had never eaten so 
good a meal before. He forgot the danger of his 
situation, and listened to the conversation of the 
old negro and his wife, as though there was not a 
rebel within a hundred miles of him. 

"There," he exclaimed, after he had finished 
the last piece of corn-bread, and pushed his chair 



1(34 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

back from the table, " I believe I ve eaten supper 
enough to satisfy any two men living." 

"Has yer had enough, chile?" asked the old 
woman. " I s glad to see yer eat. I wants to 
do all I can for you Yankee sogers." 

" Oh, I ve had a great plenty, aunty," answered 
Frank, as he rose from the table. "Now, I must 
bid you good-by," he continued, as he pulled his 
rifle out from its hiding-place. " I shall never be 
able to repay you; but" 

"Lor A mighty, chile!" interrupted the old 
woman, "whar s you gwine? You mustn t say 
one word bout gwine out o dis house dis night. 
I s got a bed all fixed for you, an Pomp will 
wake you up early in de mornin , an show you de 
way fru de swamp." 

"Put away dat gun, young niassa," chimed in 
Pomp ; " dere s no danger." 

Frank could not resist this appeal, for the bed, 
which the old woman had made for him in one 
corner of the cabin, rough as it was, was a pleas 
ant sight to his eyes. So, after hiding his rifle 
under one of the quilts, where he could get hig 
hand upon it at a moment s warning, he threw 
himself upon the bed without removing his clothes, 



THE FAITHFUL NEGRO. 165 

and was fast asleep in a moment. It seemed to 
him that he had hardly closed his eyes, when a 
hand was laid on his shoulder, and Pomp s voice 
whispered in his ear: 

"Wake up, young massa: most daylight." 
"You sleep mighty sound, chile," said the old 
woman, as Frank rose from the bed. "I s sorry 
to be blig ed to sturb you, but you must be gwine 
now. Here s a little bite for you to eat." As 
she spoke, she handed Frank a haversack, such as 
he had often seen used by the soldiers of the rebel 
army, filled with corn-bread and cold ham. Frank 
slung it over his shoulder, and, after pulling his 
rifle out from under the bed, said : 

"Aunty, I thank you for your kindness to" 
"Lor A mighty, chile!" interrupted the woman, 
" do n t say one word bout dat, I tol you. I s 
sorry we can t do more for you ; but you must go 
away now. May de good Lor bress you." 

The tears rolled down the old woman s cheeks 
as she said this, and Frank silently shook her 
hand, and followed Pomp out into the darkness. 



166 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 



CHAPTER XIV. 




HE moon had gone down, the stars 
were hidden by thick, heavy clouds, 
and it was so dark that it was im 
possible to distinguish the nearest ob- 
- jects. Every thing was as silent as 
death ; but this did not affect the vigi 
lance of Pomp, who led the way with 
noiseless steps, pausing, now and then, to listen. 
They met with no difficulty, however, and, in a few 
moments, the plantation was left behind, and they 
entered the swamp. It was a chilly, gloomy place, 
and the darkness was impenetrable ; but Frank re 
lied implicitly on his guide, who seemed to under 
stand what he was about, and kept as close behind 
him as possible. 

For an hour they traveled without speaking ; 



CHASED BY BLOOD-HOUNDS. 1()7 

at length Pomp stopped on the bank of a narrow 
but deep stream. 

u Can you swim, young massa ? " he inquired, 
turning to Frank. 

" Yes, like a duck," was the reply. 

"1 s mighty glad to h ar it," said Pomp; 
" "cause den you re safe. But I s been mighty 
oneasy bout it, cause, if you can t swim, you re 
kotched, shore. Now," he continued, " I must leave 
you here, cause I do n t want to let any one know 
dat I s been away from de plantation. You must 
cross dis creek, and foller dat road," pointing to a 
narrow r , well-beaten bridle-path on the opposite 
bank, "an dat will lead you straight to de Red 
Ribber. Y~ou must keep a good watch, now, cause 
you 11 h ar something fore long dat 11 make you 
wish you had nebber been born. I s heered it 
often, an I knows what it is. Good-by; an de 
Lor bress an protect you ; " and, before Frank 
could speak, Pomp had disappeared. 

Alone ! The young hero had never before com 
prehended the. full meaning of that single word, as 
he did now. Alone, in an almost unbroken forest, 
which was filled with enemies, who were thirsting 
for his blood ; with no one to whom he could go 



168 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

for advice or assistance. Is it to be wondered that 
he felt lonely and discouraged ? 

He looked back to the scenes through winch he 
had passed: the fight; his capture; the long, weary 
march, under a burning sun; his treatment in ths 
prison, the escape, and the pursuit; the hand-to- 
hand struggle in the woods ; all came up vividly 
before him, and he wondered how he had escaped 
unhurt ; and, then, what had the future in store for 
him ? The warning of the faithful Pomp was still 
ringing in his ears, and a dread of impending evil, 
which he could not shake off, continually pressed 
upon him. For the first time since his escape, 
Frank was completely unnerved. Seating himself 
on the ground, he covered his face with his hands, 
and cried like a child. 

But this burst of weakness did not continue long, 
for he did not forget that he was still in danger. 
Hastily dashing the tears from his eyes, he rose 
to his feet, and prepared to cross the stream. 
Holding his rifle and ammunition above his head 
with one hand, he swam with the other, reached 
the opposite bank in safety, and followed the path 
into the swamp. A mile further on, he came to 
another stream, and was making preparations to 



CHASED BY BLOOD-HOUNDS. 1G9 

cross it, when lie was startled by a voice, which 
sounded from the opposite bank : 

" Who goesh dere ? " 

Instead of replying to the challenge, Frank 
sprang behind a tree, and, looking across the stream, 
discovered a tall, powerfully-built man, dressed in 
"butternut" clothes, holding his rifle in the hollow 
of his arm. In an instant Frank s gun was at his 
shoulder, and his finger was already pressing the 
trigger, when the man exclaimed : 

" What for you shoot ? I be a friend." 

Frank, although fearful of treachery, lowered his 
gun, and the Dutchman, moving out of the bushes, 
leaned on his rifle, and inquired: 

" Where you go ? I guess you been a gun-boat 
feller; ain t it?" 

" Yes," answered Frank, " I once belonged to 
a gun-boat. But who are you ? " 

" Me ? Oh, I was a captain in the army. Sher 
man gets licked at Wicksburg, an I gets took 
brisoner; an purty quick me an anoder feller 
runs away. Here he is;" and, as the Dutchman 
spoke, a man wearing a shabby Confederate uni 
form appeared. 

Frank s mind was made up in an instant. Be- 



170 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

yond a doubt this was but a stratagem to capture 
him. But he resolved that he would never sur 
render, as long as he had sufficient strength to 
handle his rifle. 

" Well, my young friend," exclaimed the man 
in the rebel uniform, " this is a nice dress for a 
Federal officer to be wearing, isn t it?" 

" I do n t believe that either of you are officers 
in the Federal army," answered Frank. " It s my 
opinion that you are both rebels. If it is your in 
tention to attempt to capture me, I may as well tell 
you that your expectations will never be realized, 
for I shall never be taken alive;" and Frank 
handled the lock of his gun in a very significant 
manner. 

" I admire your grit," said the man, " and I ac 
knowledge that you have strong grounds for sus 
picion. But we are really escaped prisoners." 

" Yah," chimed in the Dutchman, "I shwear dat 
is so." 

" It is no fault of ours," continued the man, 
"that we are wearing rebel uniforms; for we were 
compelled to exchange with our captors, and were 
obliged to accept these, or go without any." 

"What regiment do you belong to?" 



CHASED BY BLOOD-HOUNDS. 171 

"The One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Illinois 
Infantry, Company K. I formerly belonged to 
the Forty-sixth Maine." 

" Do you know any of the boys belonging to 
Company B, f the Forty-sixth Maine Regi 
ment :" 

Oh, yes," replied the man, "I know Harry 
and George Butler, Ben Lake, and, in fact, all the 
boys ; for I once belonged to that very company. 
My home is only twenty miles from Lawrence, 
the place where the company was raised." 

Frank did not stop to ask any more questions, 
for he was satisfied that he had fallen in with 
friends. How his heart bounded at meeting one 
who had lived so near his o\\n home ! He hastily 
crossed the stream, and, seizing the man s hand, 
shook it heartily. 

"I am overjoyed at meeting with you, sir," he 
said, in a voice choked with emotion. "Perhaps 
I owe you an apology; but you will acknowledge 
that it is best to be on the safe side." 

"Certainly it is," answered the man. "I 
should have done exactly as you did, if I had 
been in your place. But where are you travelling 
to?" 



172 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

" I want to reach Red River, as soon as possible." 

"So do we! But we have lost our reckoning, 
and do n t know which way to go." 

"I do," said Frank. "This path leads directly 
to it." 

They did not linger long to converse time was 
too precious for that but immediately struck 
into the path, Frank leading the way. He soon 
learned that the names of his newly-found friends 
were Major Williams and Captain Schmidt. They 
had been captured, with two hundred others, at 
the battle of Vicksburg, and had escaped while 
being taken into Texas. They had accomplished, 
perhaps, half a dozen miles from the place where 
they met, when the breeze bore to their ears a 
sound that made Frank turn as pale as death, and 
tremble as though suddenly seized with a fit of the 
ague. They all heard it; but he was the only one 
who knew what it was. 

"What ish dat, ony how?" coolly inquired the 
captain. 

Before Frank could reply, the fearful sound was 
repeated, faint and far off, but still nearer than 
before. 

"Merciful heavens!" ejaculated the major, who 



CHASED BY BLOOD-HOUNDS. 173 

now understood their situation; "is it possible you 
do n t know what that sound is ? It is the cry of 
a blood-hound!" 

"Oh, yah!" exclaimed the captain, as though 
the idea had suddenly come into his head, "I did 
think it vas a dorg." 

"Push ahead now, boys, for Heaven s sake!" 
exclaimed the major. "Push ahead as fast as 
possible." 

The captain evidently did not comprehend the 
danger of their situation; but Frank and the 
major knew that their lives depended upon the 
next few moments. Oh, how thankful was Frank 
that he was not alone ! He now knew the mean 
ing of Pomp s warning; and the dreadful sound 
had so unnerved him, that it was with great diffi 
culty he could keep on his way. But this lasted 
only for a moment. His fear changed to indig 
nation, and a desire to execute vengeance on 
men who could be guilty of such barbarity. It 
seemed as though the strength of a dozen men 
was suddenly infused into him ; so, shouldering 
his rifle, he ran along the path with a speed that 
made it difficult for the Dutchman to keep pace 
with him. But, fast as they went, the fearful 



174 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

sound grew louder and louder; and, finally, they 
distinctly heard the clatter of horses hoofs, and 
voices cheering on the dogs. 

"Hurry on, for mercy s sake," said the major. 

Mine Gott in Himmel!" ejaculated the cap 
tain, who was puffing and blowing like a porpoise; 
" I can t run no faster. I guess it s petter we 
stops and fights em, ain t it? I been not a good 
feller to run ! " 

"You must run a little further," said Frank. 
" We will certainly be captured, if w r e stop to fight 
them here." 

The captain made no reply, but kept along as 
close behind the major as possible. Frank s swift 
ness of foot was standing him well in hand now, 
for he frequently found himself obliged to slacken 
his pace, in order to alloy/ his friends to come up 
with him. But his usual confidence was gone. 
He knew he could not stand that rapid pace much 
longer. Soon they must stop and fight; and what 
if the dogs, which would, undoubtedly, be some 
distance in advance of the horsemen, should over 
power them? Frank had often read of. the feroc 
ity of these blood-hounds, and the thought of being 
pulled down and torn to pieces by them in those 



JHASED BY BLOOD-HOUNDS. 175 

dark woods, and the knowledge that his mother 
and sister would forever remain ignorant of his 
fate, was terrible. Suddenly, an abrupt bend in 
the path brough them to the banks of another 
of those narrow streams with which the country 
was intersected like a net-work. What a cheering 
sight it was to Frank s eyes ! He now saw some 
chance for escape; and, without hesitating a mo 
ment, he plunged into the water. The others 
were close at his heels, and a few bold strokes 
brought them to the opposite shore. 

"Here we are," said the major. "Our chance 
for escape is rather slim, but we will make a stand 
here." 

They had scarcely concealed themselves in the 
bushes, when one of the hounds appeared on the 
bank. He was followed by another, and still an 
other, until eight of the terrible animals were in 
sight. They followed the trail of the fugitives 
down to the edge of the water, where, finding 
themselves at fault, they separated, and commenced 
beating up and down the bank, now and then look 
ing toward the Opposite shore, and uttering their 
bays, which sounded in Frank s ears like the knell 
of death. 



176 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

"I pelieve I shoots one of them dorgs, ain t it?" 
said the captain; and he thrust his rifle cautiously 
through the bushes. 

"No, no," commanded the major, "save your 
ammunition. The men will be here in a minute. 
Here they come now." And, as he spoke, there 
was a loud crashing in the bushes, and four horse 
men came in sight. 

"Thunder!" exclaimed one of them, who wore 
the uniform of a colonel, "I was in hopes we 
should catch the rascal before he reached this 
place. Here, Tige," he continued, addressing a 
powerful white hound, "hunt em up, hunt em 
up!" 

The hound ran down to the edge of the stream, 
and barked and whined furiously, but still hesitated 
to enter; for hounds are always averse to going 
into water. 

"Hunt em up, sir!" shouted the colonel, an 
grily. 

The dog, evidently, feared his master more than 
the water, for he plunged in, and commenced 
swimming toward the place where Frank and his 
companions were concealed ; and the others, after 
a little hesitation, followed him. 




DEATH OF THE WHITE HOUND. 



CHASED BY BLOOD-HOUNDS. 177 

"Ready, now, boys," whispered the major. 
" Captain, you shoot that white hound. Frank, 
you take the colonel, and I ll attend to the man 
just behind him. Don t waste your lead now." 

The three rifles cracked in rapid succession, and 
the colonel and one of his men fell heavily from 
their saddles. The white hound gave one short 
howl of pain, and sank out of sight. Every shot 
had reached its mark. 

The remaining rebels stood aghast at this sudden 
repulse; and the smoke of the rifles had scarcely 
cleared away, when they wheeled their horses, and 
disappeared in the woods. 

The death of the white hound produced no less 
consternation among his canine assistants, for they 
each gave a short yelp, and turned and made for 
the snore. 

12 



178 



FRANK ON A GUN -BOAT. 



CHAPTER XV. 



uescrce. 




S our time, boys," exclaimed the 
major; "come on, and load your 
guns as you run ;" and he started rap 
idly down the path. 

All sounds of the rebels were soon 
left behind ; but our party kept on 
their way, until they emerged from 
the woods, and found themselves in full view of a 
plantation. 

" I pelieve somebody lives in that house," ex 
claimed the captain, drawing back in the bushes. 
"No doubt of it," answered the major. 
" Let s move back into the woods a little further, 
and eat some dinner," said Frank ; and he turned 
to walk away, and felt for the haversack the negro 
woman had given him. But it seemed that he was 



THE RESCUE. 179 

destined to disappointment, for the haversack was 
gone. 

During all the perils he had encountered that 
day, he had been buoyed up by the thought that 
he had food sufficient to last him for a day or two, 
and that he was in no danger of suffering the pangs 
of hunger. But now his spirits fell again to zero. 

" How unfortunate ! " he exclaimed. " But it ? s 
just my luck." 

" Yes, it is too bad," said the major ; " for now 
we shall be obliged to run the risk of being cap 
tured, in order to procure food. But let us move 
on, and get as far away from this place as possible." 

Frank silently shouldered his rifle, and followed 
the major, who threaded his way along in the edge 
of the woods, taking care to keep out of sight of 
any one who might be in the house. They kept 
on until dark, and then halted in the rear of an 
other plantation, to hold a consultation relative to 
the manner in which they should obtain food. 

" Well," said the major, " we must have some 
thing to eat, that s certain ; and the only way I 
can think of, is to draw lots to see who shall go up 
to the house after it. It is a dangerous undertak 
ing, but that is the fairest way to see who shall rur. 



180 FRANK ON A SUN-BOAT. 


the risk ;" and the major selected three sticks of 

different lengths, and continued, as he held them 
out to Frank, in his closed hand, "Now. the one 
that draws the shortest stick must go to the house 
and procure us some food." 

Frank drew first, then the captain, and the major 
took the one that was left. The lot fell upon 
Frank. 

"Now," said the major, as he shook Frank s 
hand, " be careful of yourself, my friend. We will 
remain here until you return. When you get into 
the woods give two low whistles, that we may know 
that it is you. Good-by." 

Frank silently returned the pressure of the ma 
jor s hand, and moved away. He climbed over the 
fence that ran between the woods and the plant 
ation, and walked fearlessly toward the house. 
He was not at all pleased with the part he had to 
perform, for he remembered the danger he had run 
the night before; but his determination was to do 
his duty, and trust to his skill to carry him safely 
tnrough. 

He shaped his course toward the negro quarters, 
which were in the rear of the house ; but he soon 
discovered tha-t these were entirely deserted. He 



THE RESCUE. 181 

carefully examined all the cabins, in hopes of find 
ing a hen-roost, but in vain. His only alterna 
tive was to try the house. There was a light 
shining in the window, and Frank determined to 
reconnoiter the premises, and, if possible, learn who 
were in the house, before asking admittance. With 
this intention he shouldered his rifle, and was about 
to move forward, when he was startled by the 
sound of horses hoofs behind him, and a voice ex 
claimed : 

Hullo, my friend ! Have you an extra bed in 
the house, for a soldier?" 

Frank turned, and found that the horseman was 
so close to him that flight was impossible. His first 
impulse was to shoot him where he sat ; but he was 
still ignorant of the number of persons there might 
be in the house. Perhaps it was filled with sol 
diers. The report of his gun would certainly alarm 
them, and might lead to his capture. Besides, the 
man had addressed him as though he were the 
proprietor of the plantation ; perhaps he might be 
able to obtain some information. So he answered, 
with some hesitation : 

" Yes, I suppose there is an extra bed in the 
house; but I should really like to know who and 



182 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

what you are, before I agree to accommodate 
you." 

" I am Lieutenant Somers," answered the rebel ; 
"and I belong to the Seventeenth Georgia In 
fantry. You belong to the army too, do you not?" 
he continued, noticing the brass buttons on Frank s 
coat. 

It was a lucky circumstance for the young hero 
that the night was so dark, or he would certainly 
have been discovered. 

" Yes," he answered, in reply to the rebel s ques 
tion, "I am in the service. But what are you do 
ing around here this time of night ? " 

" I have been hunting after an escaped Yankee 
prisoner a gun-boat officer." 

"Did you catch him?" inquired Frank. 

"No; but I caught two others. I chased this 
gun-boat fellow with blood-hounds; but when I 
overtook him, I found that he had been reinforced 
by half a dozen others, and I was obliged to re 
treat. The scoundrels killed Colonel Acklen and 
one of his men, and the best blood-hound in Loui 
siana." 

" Where are the prisoners you captured ? " in 
quired Frank, hardly able to suppress his exulta- 



TIIE RESCUE 183 

tion at finding himself face to face with one of the 
men who had hunted him with blood-hounds. 

/Oh, I left them at the back of the plantation; 
one of my men is keeping guard over them ; but 
there is scarcely any need of that, for the Yankees 
are securely bound." 

"They are, eh!" exclaimed Frank, who could 
restrain himself no longer. "Well, here is a 
Yai kee who is not bound, and never intends to 
be ; and he raised his rifle to his shoulder, and 
glan ,td along the clean, brown barrel. "I am the 
gun-Soat fellow you were pursuing with blood 
hounds. So, if you wish to live five minutes 
longer, do n t attempt to make any resistance." 

The rebel was taken so completely by surprise 
that he could not utter a word, but sat on his horse 
as motionless and dumb as though he had been 
suddenly turned into a statue. 

" Come down off that horse ! " commanded his 
captor. 

The rebel obeyed, without hesitation. 

u Now, have you got any dangerous weapons 
about you ? " inquired Frank. " Tell the truth, 
now, for your life is n t worth a picayune." 

" Yes," answered the rebel, " I have a revolver 



184 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

and a Bowie-knife ;" and he raised his hand to his 
breast pocket. 

" Hands down ! hands down ! " exclaimed Frank ; 
"I want to examine your pockets myself;" and 
he stepped forward and relieved the rebel of a 
Bowie-knife, a revolver, several cartridges, a flint 
and steel, and some papers. These, with the ex 
ception of the revolver, he laid carefully on the 
ground, and placed his rifle beside them. "Now," 
continued Frank, " it would be a great accommo 
dation if you would trade uniforms with me. The 
people in this part of the country do n t seem to 
like Uncle Sam s clothes very well. Come out of 
that coat." 

The rebel hesitated to obey. 

"Come out of that coat, Lieutenant Sorners," 
repeated Frank, slowly ; and he raised his revolver 
until it was on a line with his captive s head. 

The sight of his own weapon, whose qualities 
he probably knew full well, brought the rebel to 
his senses, and he quickly divested himself of his 
coat. 

"Now, pull off those pants," commanded his 
captor. 

The rebel obeyed; and Frank continued, as he 



. THE RESCUE. 185 

divested himself of his own clothes : " Now, if you 
wish, you can put on these." 

The rebel had no other alternative, and he slowly 
donned the naval uniform, while Frank quickly 
converted himself into a fine-looking rebel lieu 
tenant. He then carefully pocketed the articles 
which he had taken from the rebel, with the ex 
ception of the papers. 

"What are these?" he inquired. 

" The one in the brown envelope is my appoint 
ment, and the others are orders to take my com 
pany and act as scouts." 

The latter were just what Frank wanted. 

"Now," said Frank, going up to the horse, 
which had stood patiently by, "I have one more 
favor to ask of you, you mean, sneaking rebel, and 
then I am done with you. I want you to show 
me where you left your prisoners. But, in the first 
place, I am going into that house to get something 
to eat." 

" I hope to thunder that you will be gobbled 
up," said the lieutenant, angrily. 

" Easy, easy ! " exclaimed Frank ; " you are 
talking treason when you wish evil to befall one 
of Uncle Sam s boys ; and I am not one to stand 



186 FRANK ON A GUN-BAT. 

by and listen to it ; so keep a civil tongue in your 
head, or I shall be obliged to put a stopper on 
your jaw. As I said before," he continued, " I 
am going into that house to get some supper; and. 
as I wish you to remain here until I come back, I 
shall take the liberty to tie your hands and feet. 
That s the way you serve your prisoners, I be 
lieve." 

As Frank spoke, he cut the bridle from the 
horse with his Bowie-knife, and securely bound the 
rebel who submitted to the operation with a very 
oad grace and laid him away, as he would a log 
of wood, behind one of the cabins 

"Now, you barbarian," he continued, as he 
shouldered his rifle, and thrust the revolver and 
Bowie-knife into his belt, " you are in the power 
of one who has very little love for a man who is 
guilty of the cruelty of hunting a fellow-being with 
blood-hounds; so, if you expect to live to see day 
light, do n t make any noise." With this piece of 
advice, Frank left his captive, and started for the 
house. 

He walked up the steps that led to the portico, 
which ran entirely around the house, and boldly 
knocked at the door. The summons was answered 



THE RESCUE. 187 

by a fine-looking, elderly lady, who, as soon as she 
saw the Confederate uniform, exclaimed : 

"Good evening, sir; walk in." 

Frank followed the lady through the hall, into 
a large room, whose only inmates where three 
young ladies, who rose and bowed as he came in 
He was very much relieved to find that there were 
no men in the house. 

" Take a chair, sir," said the elderly lady. " Is 
there any thing we can do for you?" 

" Yes, ma am," answered Frank. " I am out on 
a scout with some of my men, and my provisions 
have given out. I have taken the liberty to come 
here and see if I could not purchase some from 
you." 

" We are glad to see you," said one of the 
ydung ladies. " I will have some food put up for 
you immediately; and you shall have a nice, warm 
supper before you go." 

" I am under obligations to you, tnadam," an 
swered Frank ; " but, really, I can not wait, for I 
am on the trail of some escaped Yankee prisoners ; 
and, besides, I always make it a point never to fare 
better than the men I command." 

" I should like to have you stay." said the elderly 



188 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

lady, whom Fra.dk set down as the mother of the 
girls ; " but you know your duty better than we 
do. I wish all of our officers were as careful of 
their men, and as devoted to the cause, as you are. 
But what regiment do you belong to ? " 

" The Seventeenth Georgia," answered Frank. 

"Did you catch any of the Yankees you are 
after?" 

" No, ma am, not yet. But we shall have them 
before to-morrow night." 

" Oh, I hope so ! I suppose you will hang them 
to the nearest tree, as fast as you catch them ? " 

" No, ma am, I can t do that. They will be 
prisoners, you know, and must be treated as such." 

" Then bring them here, and I will hang them 
for you," exclaimed the lady, excitedly. "I think 
our government is entirely too lenient with the 
rascals." 

During the conversation that followed, Frank 
gained some very valuable information concerning 
the plans the rebels had on foot for the capture 
of the runaways. He also learned that the lady s 
husband was an officer of high rank in the rebel 
army, and that she was expecting him home every 
moment. Frank, as may be supposed, was not 



THE RESCUE. 189 

very well pleased with this information, and he 
cast uneasy glances toward the door, expecting to 
see the officer enter. But his fears were soon set 
at rest by the return of the young lady from the 
kitchen, with a large traveling bag, filled with pro 
visions. 

When Frank inquired what was to pay, he was 
informed that any one who would think of charging 
a soldier for provisions ought to be tarred and 
feathered and sent into the Yankee lines. This 
was good news to Frank, for, if there had been any 
thing to pay, he would not have known how to act, 
as mot.ey was a thing he had not seen for many 
a day. So, after thanking the ladies for their 
kindness, and bidding them good-night, he picked 
up his provisions and started out. 

" Now, you man that hunts Union soldiers with 
blood-hounds," he exclaimed, as he walked up to 
his captive, and untied the strap with which his 
feet were bound, " get up, and lead me to the place 
where you left your prisoners ;" and Frank seized 
the rebel by the collar, and helped him rather 
roughly to his feet. 

The rebel made no reply, but led the way down 
the road which ran through the plantation. Frank 



190 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

followed close behind him, carrying his rifle and 
provisions in one hand, and his revolver in "the 
other. At length they came to the fence at the 
end of the field, and, as he was helping his pris 
oner over, a voice from the woods called out : 

" Who goes there ? " 

" Is that your man?" inquired Frank, in a 
whisper, turning to his prisoner. 

"Yes," answered the rebel, gruffly. 

" Then keep your mouth shut, and let me talk to 
him," commanded Frank. Raising his voice, ne 
answered to the hail, " Friend ! " 

" Is that you, Lieutenant Somers ? " inquired 
the voice. 

"Yes," answered Frank. "Come here; I ve 
got a supply of provisions, and another prisoner." 

" Another Yank, eh ! " said the man ; and Frank 
heard him coming through the woods toward him. 

" Well, we ve one less to catch, then. Where is 
he? Let s have a squint at him." 

"Never mind the prisoner," exclaimed Frank, 
"but come and take these provisions; they re 
heavy." 

The rebel, who could not discover that any thing 
was wrong, reached out his hand, and took the 



THE RESCUE. 191 

traveling-bag from Frank, when the latter sud 
denly seized him by the collar, and exclaimed, as 
he pressed the muzzle of his revolver against his 
head : 

" You re my prisoner !" 

For an instant the rebel appeared utterly dum- 
founded; then, suddenly recovering himself, he 
struck up Frank s arm, and, with a quick move 
ment, tore himself away from his grasp, and drew 
his Bowie-knife. 

"Kill him, Jake! kill him!" shouted the lieu 
tenant, who, of course, was unable to assist his 
man, as his hands were securely bound behind his 
back. 

But Frank was too quick for him, for, before 
the rebel could make a thrust with his knife, the 
sharp report of the revolver echoed through the 
woods, and the man sank to the ground like a 
log. 

"Now," exclaimed Frank, turning to his pris 
oner, " I ve a good notion to shoot you, also. 
But I will try you once more ; and I tell you now, 
once for all, do n t open your head again to-night, 
unless you are spoken to. Now, show me where 
you left your prisoners." 



192 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

" Here we are ! " exclaimed a voice from the 
bushes. 

Frank soon found them, and, when he had cut 
the ropes with which they were bound, and set 
them at liberty, they each seized his hands, and 
wrung them in silent gratitude. 

"Thank heaven, we re free men once more!" 
exclaimed one of the poor fellows. " But where 
is that lieutenant that captured us?" 

"He s my prisoner," answered Frank. 

" Here you are, you thunderin , low-lived se- 
cesh ! " exclaimed the man, who had not yet spoken, 
as he walked up to the rebel, and laid his hand 
on his sLoulder. " I ve a mind to stop your wind 
for you, you mean" 

"Eas^, easy, boys," exclaimed Frank; "he s a 
prisoner, you know, and we Ve no right to put 
him in misery simply because he s in our power." 

"Why, the varmint hunted us yesterday with 
blood-hounds," exclaimed one of the soldiers. 

" He served me the same way to-day," answered 
Frank; "but, still, we have no right to abuse him. 
But I have two more friends around here some 
where;" and Frank put his hand to his mouth, and 
gave two low whistles. It was answered imme- 



THE RESCUE. 193 

diately, and a voice, which Frank recognized as the 
captain s, inquired : 

" Isli dat you, you gun-boat feller?" 
" Yes, I m here, captain ; come along." 
The Dutchman soon made his appearance, fol 
lowed by the major. They had remained in their 
hiding-place, and heard all that was going on ; but, 
so fearful were they of treachery, that they dared 
not come out. Frank briefly related to them the 
circumstances connected with the capture of the 
lieutenant, and the release of the two soldiers ; after 
this a consultation was held, and it was decided 
that it would not be prudent to attempt to reach 
Red River for a .day or two, at least. The major 
thought it best to remain concealed during the day, 
and at night boldly follow the road. 

This plan was adopted, for the entire party 
including the soldiers Frank had just released 
were dressed in butternut clothes ; besides this, 
the papers which had been taken from the lieu 
tenant would greatly assist them, if their plan was 
carried out with skill and determination. And, in 
regard to the prisoner who, of course, had not 
heard a word of the consultation it was decided 
to detain him for a day or two, in order that he 
13 



194 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

might be led to believe that it was their intention 
to keep as far away from Red River as possible, 
and then release him. 

After their plans had all been determined upon, 
Frank opened his sack of provisions, when, eat 
ing a scanty meal, they again started forward. 
They kept along on the edge of the plantations 
until the day began to dawn, and then turned into 
the woods and encamped. 



A FRIEND IN NEED. 195 




CHAPTER XVI 

in i^ 

the evening, at dark, they re 
sumed their journey. They boldly fol 
lowed the road, and met with no oppo 
sition until just before daylight, when a 
voice directly in front of them shouted, 
"Halt!" 

"Now, boys," whispered the major, 
"our safety depends upon our nerve. It is so 
dark they can t see our faces, so don t be fright 
ened at any thing that may happen. Captain, 
take care of that prisoner, and remember and 
blow his brains out the moment he makes the least 
attempt at escape." 

" Who goes there ? " shouted the voice again. 
"Scouts!" answered the major, promptly. 
" Advance, one scout, and give the counter 
sign." 



196 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

The Major accordingly advanced to the place 
where the sentry was standing, and the captain 
cautiously cocking his musket, placed its cold 
muzzle against the prisoner s head, whispering, 
between his clenched teeth : 

"I guess you hear what the major did said, 
ain t it ? Well, then, do n t say somethings." 

The laconic captain probably thought this 
warning sufficient, for he brought his musket to 
an "order arms," and did not afterward even 
deign to cast a single glance at the prisoner. 

In the mean time, the major was endeavoring 
to convince the lieutenant of the guard that, al 
though they did not have the countersign, they 
were in reality Confederate soldiers. 

" It may be that you uns is all right," said the 
lieutenant, after reading, by the aid of a dark 
lantern, the papers which Frank had captured. 
" But, you see, thar s so many of these yere 
Yanks running away, that we uns has got to be 
mighty careful how we let folks go past." 

"I tell you," said the major, speaking as though 
he considered himself highly insulted, U I tell you, 
that I am on special service by order of General 
Taylor. I have been out on a scout to recapture 



A FRIEND IN NEED. 197 

the very prisoners you have just mentioned. I 
have already caught one of them," he added, 
pointing to their prisoner, who, let it be remem 
bered, was dressed in Frank s uniform. 

" If you uns is out on a scout," said a soldier, 
who had been aroused from his blanket, and 
pressed up to obtain a glance at the major, 
" wliar s your bosses?" 

" I left them about a mile down the river. I 
have already been through your lines once to 
night, and I might have gone through this time 
without your knowledge, if I had seen fit to do 
so." 

" Maybe it s all right," said the lieutenant, 
shaking his head dubiously ; " but I 11 be dog 
gone if I do n t think I ve seen your face some 
where before ; " and as he said this he raised the 
lantern, and allowed the light to shine full upon 
him. Frank, who had been waiting impatiently 
for the interview to be brought to a close, gave 
himself up for lost when he saw a smile of tri 
umph light up the rebel s face. But the major 
was equal to the emergency. Meeting the lieu 
tenant s gaze without flinching, he replied, care 
lessly : 



1H8 FRANK OX A GUN-BOAT 

"Very likely you have. I have been in the 
service ever since the war broke out. But do you 
intend to allow us to proceed, or shall I be obliged 
to report you at head-quarters ? Remember, I 
can say that you do not keep a very good watch, 
seeing I have already passed you once." 

This threat seemed to decide the lieutenant, 
who replied, " I guess it s all right you uns can 
pass." 

When Frank heard this, it seemed as though a 
heavy load had been removed from his breast. 
But the hardest part of the trial, with him, had 
yet to come. What if he should be recognized? 
But he had that risk to run ; so, summoning up 
all his fortitude, he marched with his companions 
by the guards, apparently as unconcerned as 
though he was entering a friendly camp. 

The moment they got out of hearing of the 
tread of the sentinel, the major turned from the 
road and led the way into the woods. After 
walking a short distance, at a rapid pace, he 
whispered : 

" Perhaps we fooled the rascals, but I think 
not. I did n t like the way that lieutenant eyed 
,ne I am certain we shall be pursued as soon aa 



A FRIEND IX NEED. 199 

he can send for assistance ; and the best thing 
we can do is to get away from here. So, for 
ward, double-quick. Do n t make too much noise 
now. Captain, look out for that prisoner." 

It was well that the major had adopted the 
precaution of leaving the road and taking to the 
woods, for, in less than half an hour after they 
had passed the guards, a squad of cavalry came 
up, having a full and correct description of Frank 
and his companions. By some means, the capture 
of the rebel lieutenant had become known, and 
a portion of his own regiment which had fol 
lowed Frank from Shreveport, but which had given 
up the chase and returned had again started in 
pursuit. The guards were astounded when they 
learned that the young gun-boat officer (with 
whose flight and subsequent almost miraculous 
escapes from recapture every scout in the country 
was acquainted) had been within their very grasp, 
and a portion of them joined the cavalry in pur 
suit ; but, as they kept on down the road, Frank 
and his companions again escaped. They had 
heard their pursuers pass by, and knowing that 
the country would be thoroughly alarmed, and 
that it would be useless to attempt to reach Red 



200 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

River at present, they directed their course to 
ward Washita River, which lay about thirty-five 
miles distant, hoping to deceive the rebels as to 
their real intentions, and thus, by drawing their 
pursuers into the country, leave their avenue of 
escape unobstructed. 

One clear, moonlight night they halted, as usual, 
in the rear of a plantation, and were debating 
upon the best means to be employed in obtaining 
food, when a man, dressed in a shabby Federal 
uniform, was discovered coming slowly toward 
them, on the opposite side of the fence that sep 
arated the woods from the plantation. 

His sudden and wholly unexpected appearance 
took them completely by surprise. Frank imme 
diately proposed to challenge him. Perhaps, like 
themselves, he was a fugitive from a rebel prison, 
and in need of assistance. But the captain 
strongly opposed this, and was in favor of shoot 
ing the man, who still continued to advance, as 
if wholly unconscious of the presence of any 
one arguing, in his broken English, and with 
good reason, too, that the appearance of a Fed 
eral uniform in that part of the country bodevl 
them no good, but was a sure sign of treachery ; 



A FRIEND IN NEED. 201 

arid evidently thinking that he had won the day, 
he was about to put his plan into execution, when 
the major struck up his musket, and shouted : 

" Who comes there ? " 

The stranger, instead of replying, instantly 
threw himself on the ground behind the fence, 
out of sight. 

" Gott in himmel, major," exclaimed the disap 
pointed captain, "I pelieve it s better you shoots 
that man purty quick we all gets ketched again ;" 
and as he said this the captain, who, although a 
very brave man on the field of battle, was very 
much opposed to fighting an invisible enemy, 
drew himself behind a tree, as if fully .expecting 
to see a whole army of rebels rush out of their 
concealments upon them. 

"Be quiet, captain," said the major. " You 
have grown very suspicious lately," Then, rais 
ing his voice, he called out : a Whoever you are 
behind that fence, whether a friend or an enemy 
to the Union, come out immediately, or you are 
a dead man." 

A deep silence, which lasted for several sec 
onds, followed his words. Then came the om 
inous click of half a dozen gun-locks, which, in 



202 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

the stillness of the night, could be heard a long 
distance. 

The stranger evidently heard it too, for, with 
out further hesitation, he arose from behind the 
fence, and came forward. 

The major allowed him to approach within a 
few yards, and then ordered him to halt, and in 
quired : 

" Now, sir ! who and what are you ? Tell the 
truth, for you have desperate men to deal with." 

" From your language," ans^ ered the stranger, 
in a voice so soft that it was almost feminine, but 
which, nevertheless, betrayed not the slightest 
trepidation, "I should judge that you are escaped 
prisoners ; if so, permit me to make one of your 
number. If not, you will find me as desperate 
as yourselves; for I have suffered too much in 
prison to ever allow myself to be taken back 
alive ; " and, as he spoke, he displayed a brace of 
pistols, w T hich showed that he meant what he said. 

" Gott in himmel!" exclaimed the captain, 
springing out from behind his tree, and forget 
ting, in a moment, all his suspicions, " vos you 
captured, too ? We been mighty glad to see you, 
any how." 



A FRIEXD IN NEED. . 203 

" Yes," answered the man, " I have been a 
prisoner for twenty-two months, and it was not 
until three weeks since that I succeeded in mak 
ing my escape." 

" We 11 take your story for what it is worth, at 
piesent," said the major, "for we can not stop to 
talk. We must first make some arrangements 
about obtaining something to eat, and then we 
must be off." 

" My haversack has just been replenished," 
said the stranger, " and we have sufficient to last 
us for a day or two, at least." 

" Well, let us be moving, then." 

The major, as usual, led the way, and Frank 
walked beside the stranger, who firmly, but re 
spectfully, repelled every attempt he made to en 
ter into conversation, a circumstance which Frank 
regarded with suspicion. 

At length day began to dawn, and the fugitives 
commenced to cast sidelong glances at their new 
companion. He was a tall, slimly-built youth, 
apparently but little older than Frank, and his 
b:yish face wore a look of care and sorrow, which 
if once seen could never be forgotten, and which 
showed that, young as he was, his path through 



204 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

life had been any thing but a smooth one. His 
clothing \\as reduced almost to tatters; but still 
there was enough of it left to show that it was 
" Uncle Sam s blue ;" and, as Frank surveyed him 
from head to foot, he discovered something hang 
ing to one of the -shreds of his coat, which im 
mediately interested him in the silent stranger. 
It was a navy button. This was enough for 
Frank, who, forgetting the manner in which his 
advances had been received, inquired : 

"Are you a naval officer, sir?" 

" Yes," answered the youth, in a low voice ; 
"or, rather, I was once." 

" So was I. Give us your hand." 

The sad, gloomy look gave way to a smile of 
genuine pleasure, as the stranger grasped the 
proffered hand, and shook it heartily. 

" What vessel were you attached to, and when 
and how were you captured?" inquired Frank. 

But his companion had relapsed into his former 
state of gloominess arid silence, and seemed to be 
pondering upon something at once painful and 
interesting. 

Frank made no further attempts to draw him 
into conversation, and, just as the sun was rising, 



A FRIEND IN NEED. 205 

the major gave the order to halt. He also had 
noticed the sorrowful look of the young stranger, 
and, attributing it to a depression of spirits, which 
any one would feel at finding himself in such 
circumstances, addressed him, as he came up, 
with : 

a My friend, you appear to be sorely troubled 
about something. Cheer up ; it does no good to 
be despondent. I know our case is desperate, 
but it is not altogether hopeless. We do not in 
tend to be recaptured, as long as one of us has 
strength to draw a trigger." 

"I am not troubled about that, sir," answered 
the youth, throwing himself wearily on the ground. 
; The cause of my sorrow dates further back than 
rny capture and confinement in prison. I know 
that I am not the only one who has suffered dur 
ing this rebellion ; but mine is a peculiar case. 
I have not known a happy day since the war 
commenced. Every tie that bound me to earth 
was severed when the first gun was fired on Fort 
Sumter." 

" Ah!" exclaimed Frank, guessing the truth at 
once. " Then your relatives are rebels." 

" Yes, they are ; and the most bitter kind of 



206 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

rebels, too. I have kept my secret until I can 
no longer endure it. I have become completely 
discouraged, and am greatly in need of what I at 
first shunned sympathy. If you will bear with 
me, I will tell you my circumstances. It will 
serve to relieve me, and may interest you, and 
prove that I am really what I profess to be, an 
escaped prisoner." 

" Certainly, let us hear it. Go on," said the 
major. 

Thus encouraged, the youth proceeded : 

"My name is George Le Dell; and I am the 
youngest son of General Le Dell, of the Confed 
erate army. My home is, or rather was, on the 
Washita River, about ten miles from this very 
place. When I was seventeen years of age, I 
was sent North to complete my education, at 
Yale College, and was just about commencing my 
senior year, when I received this letter from my 
father." 

Here George paused, and drew from his pocket 
a bundle of papers, carefully tied up, and, pro 
ducing a letter, from which the writing was al 
most obliterated, he handed it to Frank, who read 
uloud as follows : 



A FRIEND IN NEED. 207 

CATAHOOLA PARISH, February 12, 1801. 
MY DEAR GEORGE: 

Your letter of the 2d ult. was duly received. 

Although your ideas of the civil war, to which you seem 
to look forward with such anxiety, are rather crude, you are, 
in the main, correct in your conjectures as to our intentions. 
Secession is a fixed fact. You know it has often been dis 
cussed by our leading men, and the election of Mr. Lincoln 
has only served to precipitate our action. Had he been de 
feated, it might have been put off four years longer; but it 
would be certain to come then. For years the heaven-sanc 
tioned institution of slavery has been subjected to all the 
attacks that the fiendish imaginations of the Yankee aboli 
tionists could suggest, and we are determined to bear with 
them no longer. We intend to establish a confederacy of 
our own, whose corner-stone shall be slavery. 

I wish you to come home immediately, as I have secured you 
a first lieutenant s commission in a cavalry company, which 
is to be mustered into my regiment. Your brothers have al 
ready accepted theirs, and are drilling their companies twice 
every week. Of course, we do not expect a war, for we have 
kept the cowardly Yankees under our thumbs so long that 
they will not dare to oppose us. However, we consider it 
Oest to be on the safe side. 

Inclosed I send you a check for two hundred dollars, which, 
I think, will be sufficient to pay all your bills, and to defray 
/our expenses home. 

Your mother and sisters send their love. 

Hoping to see you soon, and to join hands with you in 
destroying every vestige of the old Union, I remain, 

Yours, affectionately, EDWARD LE DELL. 

While Frank was reading this letter, George 
had sat with his face buried in his hands, not 
once moving or giving a sign of life ; but, as soon 



208 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

as the letter was finished, he raised his pale face, 
and inquired, in a husky voice : 

"What do you think of that? It does not 
seem possible that a father, who had the least 
spark of affection for his son, could advise him 
to follow such a course, does it? Turn the letter 
over, and you will see a copy of my answer writ 
ten on the back." 

It ran as follows : 

YALE COLLEGE, March 20, 1861. 
MY DEAR FATHER : 

You can not imagine with what feelings of astonishment 
and sorrow I read your letter of the 12th ult., which was 
received nearly three weeks since. The reason for my delay 
in replying you can easily divine. Has it, then, come to 
this? Is it possible that, in order to do my duty to my coun 
try, I must be willing to incur the displeasure of my father? 
What would you have me do? Assist in pulling down the 
old flag, and in breaking up the best government the world 
ever saw? Why, father, this is downright madness. I can 
not "join hands" with you in so unholy a cause. On the 
contrary, as long as that flag needs defenders, you will find 
me among them. You are deceiving yourself when you say 
the " cowardly Yankees " will not fight. They are a people 
slow to wrath," but they are not cowards, father; and you 
will find, to your sorrow, that they will resist, to the death, 
"any and every attempt to alienate any portion of this Union 
from the rest." 

Living in the South, as I have, I have long seen this war 
brewing, but was unwilling to confess it, even to myself ; 
and I had hoped, that if it did come, my father would not 



A FRIEND IN NEED. 209 

countenance it. Why will you do it? You never, never can 
surceel. The very first attempt you make to withdraw from 
your allegiance to the United States will be the signal for a 
war. the like of which the world has never witnessed, and 
the blood of thousands of men, who will be sacrificed to 
glut your ambition, will be upon your own heads. 

Inclosed, I respectfully return the check, with many 
thanks for your kindness. I can not use it for the purpose 
you wish. 

Hoping and praying that you and my brothers will con 
sider well before you take the step that will bring you only 
suffering and disgrace, and will use all your influence lo 
prevent the effusion of blood that must necessarily follow the 
suicidttl course you would pursue, I am, as ever, 

Your affectionate son, GEO. LE DELL. 

"That was the best I could do at the time," 
said George, as Frank finished the letter. "I 
believe I must have been crazy when I wrote it. 
If I could only have known as much as I do now, 
1 think I could have made a much better plea 
than that." 

" Didn t it have any effect upon your father?" 
inquired the major. 

" Effect! " repeated George. " Yes, it had the 
effect of making him disinherit and cast me off, 
Read that," he continued, handing Frank another 
soiled paper, which looked as though it had been 
read and thumbed continually. " I felt like one 
with his death-warrant when I received that." 
14 



FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

It ran thus : 

CATAHOOLA PARISH, March 31, 1861. 
SIR: 

In reply to your scandalous and insulting letter, I hav 
but a few words to say. 

This, then, is the only return you have to make for all 
the favors I ha^e showered upon you ! I had expected great 
things of you, George, for you have the abilities that would 
have raised you to a high position in the South; and it seems 
hard that my fond hopes should be dashed to the ground, by 
one fell blow, given, too, by your own hand. But I know 
my duty ; and now, sir, I have done with you. I cast you 
off forever. You will never enter my house again ; and 
not a cent of my property shall ever be possessed by you 
ho, not even if you were starving. I have instructed my 
family to forget that such a person as George Le Dell ever 
existed. Take part with our oppressors, if you choose, but 
be assured that the justly-merited consequences of your folly 
will be visited upon you. 

In conclusion, I have to say, that if any more letters are 
received from you, they shall be returned unopened. 

EDWARD LE DELL. 

" Now you can see exactly how I am situated," 
said George, taking the letter from Frank s hand, 
and putting it with the others carefully away in 
his pocket. " Do you wonder, then, that I am 
sorrowful, cut off as I am from all my relatives, 
with strict orders never to cross the threshold of 
my father s house again, not even if I am dying 
for want of food? You have, doubtless, heard 
of the malignity displayed by the rebel leader* 



A FRIEND IN NEED. 211 

toward any Southerner who dares to differ with 
them in opinion, and have looked upon them as 
idle stories, gotten up for effect ; but I know, by 
the most bitter experience, that it is a reality. 
Does it seem possible that a person can be so 
blind, and act with such cruelty toward a son ? 

" When the war was fairly begun," he contin 
ued, " I kept the vow I had made that as long 
as the old flag needed defenders, I should be 
found among them, by enlisting as fourth master, 
in what was then called the i Gun-boat Flotilla, 
about to commence operations on the Western 
waters. I participated in the battle of Island 
No. 10 ; was at the taking of Memphis, and at 
St. Charles ; when the c Mound City was blown 
up, I barely escaped being scalded to death. 1 
w r as on the Essex, when she ran the batteries 
at Vicksburg, and during the subsequent fight, 
which resulted in the defeat of the Arkansas 
ram. About a month after that I was captured 
with a party of men, while on shore on a foraging 
expedition. I fought as long as I could, for I 
knew that death would be preferable to the treat 
ment I should receive ; but I was overpowered, 
and finally surrendered to save the lives of my 



212 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

men. The rebels, of course, immediately com 
menced crowding about us, and the very first of 
ficer I saw was my brother Henry, who had risen 
to the position of adjutant, in father s regiment. 
He instantly recognized me, and, after giving 
strict orders that I should be closely confined, 
rode off . I had many acquaintances in the regi 
ment. Some of them had been my classmates at 
college ; and the story of my treason, as they 
called it, was given a wide circulation. I fared 
even worse than I had expected. My food was 
of the v r ery worst quality, and barely sufficient to 
sustain life. I was never allowed a shelter of any 
kind, not even a blanket; and, when my clothing 
was worn out, I could not obtain another suit. 
4 Stici to your dirty blue/ said the officer under 
whose charge I had been placed, and every time 
you look at it, think of the meanness of which 
you lia^e been guilty. 

" At length, to my relief, the order came for 
me to be transferred to the prison at Tyler. 
When I arrived at that place, I was thrust into 
an old slave-pen, where I was confined nearly 
twenty months before I succeeded in effecting my 
escape. I was given to understand that it had 



A FRIEND IN NEED. 213 

been ordered that I was not to be exchanged, but 
might expect to die a traitor s death at no distant 
clay. Whether or not this was intended to ter 
rify me, I do not know ; but, since my escape, 1 
have thought that there were some goad grounds 
for fear ; for, during my journey from Tyler to 
Shreveport, I was not once out of hearing of the 
blood-hounds that were following my trail. The 
only support I have had is the consciousness that 
I have tried to do my duty. If it were not for 
that, I should be the most miserable person in the 
world ; and I should not care how soon some rebel 
bullet put an end to my existence. 

"Although I am now looked upon by my rel 
atives as a stranger and an outcast, I have de 
termined to visit once more the place which, long 
ago, I used to call home. It is only ten miles 
from here, and not a step out of our way. Will 
you accompany me?" 

Of course, this strange proposition at first met 
with strong opposition, especially from the cap 
tain. But George assured them that there was 
not the slightest danger, as all the troops in that 
part of the country had been ordered to Fort De 
Russy, and were hourly expecting an attack ; 



214 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

consequently they would find no one at home ex 
cept George s mother, sisters, and a few old ne 
groes who were too feeble to work on the forti 
fications. Besides, as all the troops were now on 
Red River, their safest course would be to aban 
don, for awhile, at least, the idea of taking it as 
their guide to the Mississippi. This silenced 
their objections, and, after the sentinels for the 
day had been selected, the fugitives, stretching 
themselves out on the ground, and fell asleep all 
except Frank, who leaned back against a tree. 
While he kept watch over his sleeping com 
panions, he pondered upon the history of their 
new acquaintance, and admired the high sense of 
duty and patriotism that had animated him to 
make so great a sacrifice for the sake of the " old 
flag." 



THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION. 



215 



CHAPTER XVII 




EXT evening, George took the lead, 
and conducted them through the 
woods, with a certainty that showed 
that he was well acquainted with the 
ground over which they were passing. 
Not a word did he speak until they 
emerged from the woods, and found 
before them a large plantation, with the huge, 
old-fashioned farm-house, surrounded by its negro 
quarters and out-buildings, looming up in the 
distance. 

George gazed upon the scene long and earn 
estly, until his feelings overcame him, when he 
leaned his head upon his hand, and gave full vent 
to his sorrow. He did not weep, but the heaving 
of his chest, and the quivering of his whole frame, 
showed how severe was the struggle that was 



216 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

going on within him. His companions, who well 
knew what was passing in his mind, leaned on 
their weapons, and silently waited until the burst 
of grief had subsided. At length, George recov 
ered his composure, and said, slowly: 

" It looks natural, boys ; every thing is just as 
I left it five years ago. Let us go up to the 
house. I must see my mother and sisters once 
more. We will say that we* are rebel soldiers, 
and want something to eat. My father and 
brothers are at Fort De Russy with their com 
mands, so there will be no danger." 

"But your uniform," said Frank, anxiously, 
" that will certainly betray us." 

" No danger of that," ansAvered George ; " a 
great many soldiers in the rebel army wear the 
Federal uniform. There s no danger," 

Frank was far from being satisfied, but he fell 
in with the rest, and followed George toward the 
house. A few moments walk brought them to a 
barn, where they again halted, and, while George 
stood feasting his eyes on each familiar object, 
the captain bound the rebel lieutenant hand and 
foot, and laid him away under a fence-corner; and 
left him, with the information that his life de- 



THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION. 217 

pended upon his observing the strictest silence. 
This course was the wisest that could have been 
adopted, under the circumstances ; for it would 
have been very imprudent to have taken the 
prisoner with them, as he could easily have 
found means to make himself known. 

George again took the lead, and, when they 
had almost reached the house, they heard the 
sound of a piano, and a female voice singing the 
never-failing " Bonnie Blue Flag." 

" There you have it," said George, bitterly ; 
"but don t stop let s go right in. Major, you 
had better go up to the door, and ask them to 
give us something to eat. I dare not trust my 
self to do it. Be a bitter rebel now, and they 
will certainly invite us all in, and we will get 
whatever we ask for. Now, boys," he continued, 
turning to the others, " do n t watch me too 
closely when we get in the house, or you will 
betray me." 

The major after making sure that the papers, 
which had already been of so much service to 
them, were still in his pocket ascended the 
broad stone steps that led up to the portico, and 
knocked at the door. It was opened by a serv- 



218 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

ant, who, after inquiring what he wanted, led the 
way into a brilliantly-lighted parlor, where he saw 
before him George s mother and sisters. 

" Good evening, sir," said Mrs. Le Dell, rising 
from her seat. " Is there any way in which we 
can serve you?" 

The major made known his wants, and a serv 
ant was at once dispatched to order supper, and 
to -invite the remainder of the fugitives into the 
house. As they filed slowly into the room 
George bringing up the rear the particular or 
ders which the major gave about the muskets 
caused the lady to say : 

" You need have no fear, sir. The Yankees 
have never yet favored us with a visit." 

" I know it, ma am." replied the major, accept 
ing a chair that one of the sisters offered him, 
"but I have been a soldier so long, that I never 
omit to make preparations for a fight." 

As soon as they were fairly seated, Frank 
turned to look at George. "That boy must be 
made of iron," said he to himself. " or else he is 
among his friends, and we are betrayed;" for, in 
stead of being embarrassed, or wearing his habit 
ual sorrowful look, he sat easily in his chair, and 



THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION. 219 

gazed carelessly about the room, as though he 
were a perfect stranger there, and not a muscle 
quivered, to show the emotion he really felt, as 
his eye rested on the familiar faces of his rela 
tives. He calmly met their glances, which Frank 
thought were directed toward him rather suspi 
ciously, but all attempts to draw him into the 
conversation that followed, about the war, and 
the certainty of speedily overpowering the Yan 
kees, and driving them from the land, were una 
vailing. Once Frank thought he heard one of 
his sisters whisper, "How much he looks like 
George!" but he was not recognized, and the 
supper, which was enlivened by conversation on 
indifferent subjects, passed off pleasantly. 

When the meal was finished, a large bag was 
filled with provisions, sufficient to last them nearly 
a week, and given in charge of one of the sol 
diers ; and the major, after thanking the ladies 
for their kindness, was about to bid them good 
evening, when there was a clatter of horses hoofs 
on the walk, then heavy steps sounded in the hall, 
and the next moment, to the utter astonishment 
and horror of the fugitives, three rebel officers 
entered the room. 



220 FRANK ON A GUN -BO AT. 

They were General Le Dell and his two sons. 

Frank s heart fairly came up into his mouth at 
this unwelcome intrusion, and his first impulse 
was to draw his revolver and shoot the rebels 
where they stood; but, on glancing at the major, 
who always seemed to have his wits about him, he 
abandoned the idea. The major, with the rest, 
had seized his musket, but, as the rebels entered, 
he returned it to its place in the corner, (motion 
ing to the others to do the same,) and, saluting 
the general, said, with a smile : 

"I beg your pardon, sir. I did not know but 
that the Yankees were ii] on us." 

" No clanger of that, said the general, with a 
laugh ; " you 11 never see them as far up in the 
country as this. Pray be seated, sir." 

After greeting his wife and daughters, the gen 
eral again turned to the major, whom, by his sol 
dierly bearing, he at once picked out as the leader 
of the band, and inquired : 

"May I ask what you are doing up here? 
Has not your command been ordered to Fort De 
Russy?" 

" Yes, sir. But I am out on a scout, by order 
of General Taylor." 



THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION. 221 

" You can have no objection to produce those 
orders ?" 

" no, sir ! certainly not. Here they are," 
answered the major, drawing from his pocket the 
papers which Frank had captured. The general, 
after hastily running his eye over them, suddenly 
exclaimed : 

"Why, Lieutenant Somers, how do you do, sir? 
I am very glad to meet you again. I heard that 
you had been taken prisoner. I am most happy 
to see that you have escaped." 

This was rather more than the major had been 
expecting, and he suddenly found himself placed 
in a most awkward position. But his presence 
of mind never forsook him ; and, accepting the 
rebel s proffered hand, he shook it with apparent 
cordiality, and replied : 

" Thank you, sir, I, myself, am not sorry to 
know that I am a free man once more." 

" You probably do not remember me," contin 
ued the general, " but I was well acquainted with 
your father before he moved to Georgia, and used 
to trot you on my knee when you were a little 
fellow ; and I do believe you were the ugliest 
little brat I ever had any thing to do with. You 



222 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

did nothing but yell and screech from morning 
until night. But, by the way, your father met 
his death in a very singular manner, did he 
not?" 

" Yes, sir very singular very singular, in 
deed," replied the major, promptly, as though he 
were perfectly familiar with all of the particulars, 
although in reality he was sorely puzzled to know 
what to say. What if the rebel should ask him 
to explain the affair? But the general appeared 
to be well enough acquainted with the matter, for 
he continued : 

"He died like a brave man, and a soldier. I 
suppose you intend to take ample revenge upon 
the Yankees to pay for it." 

" Yes, sir ; and I am now on the trail of the 
very man who shot him." The major said this at 
a venture; but, fortunately, he was correct in his 
surmise as to the manner in which Mr. Somers 
departed this life. 

While this conversation was going on, Frank 
was a good deal annoyed to see that George s 
sisters, and one of his brothers, were engaged 
in mysterious whisperings, now and then darting 
suspicious glances toward his new companion. 



THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION. 223 

When the general entered, George had risen with 
the rest and saluted him, after which he had re 
sumed his seat, and the deep blush of excitement 
that arose to his cheek had quickly given place to 
the same careless look that Frank had before no 
ticed. George was also aware that the whisper 
ing that was going on related to himself, and it 
was evident that his relatives had some suspicions 
of who he was ; but, if it caused him any uneasi 
ness, he was very careful to conceal it. 

At length, one of his brothers drew his chair to 
his side, and said : 

"Excuse me, sir; but I believe I ve seen you 
before." 

" I should n t be surprised if you had, sir," an 
swered George, steadily meeting the rebel s gaze. 
" I know I ve seen you before." 

His brother started back in his chair, and a 
gleam of triumph shot across his face as he ex 
claimed: 

" George, I know you." 

" And you will have cause to know me bettei 
before this war is over," answered George, forget 
ting, in his excitement, all the precautions he had 
before adopted to escape being recognized. 



224 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

Had a thunderbolt fallen into the room, the as 
tonishment of the general and his wife could not 
have been greater. They sat in their chairs as 
motionless as if they had been suddenly turned 
into stone, gazing at their son as though they 
could scarcely believe their eyes, while the fugi 
tives sat with their hands on their weapons, won 
dering what would be the result of George s im 
prudence. At length the general, who was the 
first to recover from his astonishment, vocif 
erated : 

" You here, you rascal you young traitor ! I 
thought you were safe in the prison at Tyler 
again by this time." 

"No djubt you did," answered George, bitterly. 
"But I \n a free man now, and intend to remain 
so." 

" You are free ! " repeated the general ; " that s 
a capital joke. Lieutenant Somers, I charge you 
with his safe delivery at Tyler." 

The major, greatly relieved to find that the 
general still considered him a rebel, was about to 
promise that George should be well taken care of, 
when the latter, to the astonishment of all, boldly 
declared : 



THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION. 225 

* That is not Lieutenant Somers. These gentle 
men are all my friends Union to the backbone." 

"Eh! what?" ejaculated the general, in sur 
prise, scarcely believing what he heard. " These 
men all Yankees ? " 

" Yes, sir ; every one of them." 

" A nice-looking set, surely a fine lot of jail 
birds you are." 

" So I have been feeding a lot of tyrants instead 
of loyal Confederate soldiers," said Mrs. Le Dell, 
while the sisters gazed at the young hero with 
contempt pictured in their faces. 

"No, mother, you have not fed tyrants," an 
swered George, with a good deal of spirit, " but 
true Union men. It is nothing you need be 
ashamed of." 

" Well, we are ashamed of it," said the general, 
who seemed to be fairly beside himself with rage. 
"Didn t I tell you never to darken my door 
again? Where are you traveling to, and what do 
you intend to do?" 

" I am on my way North, and I purpose to 
join my vessel, if she is still afloat." 

"You 11 do no such thing. Just consider 
yourselves prisoners all of you." 
15 



226 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

" no, sheneral, I pelieve not, said the cap 
tain, quietly, " cause you see we six been more 
as you three." 

"No, father, we shall never be taken prisoners 
again never." 

"You are very bold, young man," said the 
general, who, as he gazed upon the flushed coun 
tenance and flashing eyes of his son, could not 
but admire his courage. "This is big talk for a 
boy of your age." 

"We have already wasted time enough," said 
the major, growing impatient. " Captain, relieve 
those gentlemen of their weapons." 

The order was promptly obeyed, the rebels of 
fering no resistance." 

" Now," resumed the major, " we shall take 
our leave. Good evening." 

" You 11 all be in Fort De Hussy in less than 
forty-eight hours," shouted the general, " or I am 
very much mistaken." 

" We 11 be dead men, then," answered George. 
" You will never take us there alive." 

The fugitives did not linger to converse, but, 
made all haste to get into the open air. The 
horses belonging to the rebels, which were found 



THE SCENE AT THE PLANTATION. 227 

fastened in front of the house, were immediately 
turned loose, and a thrust from the captain s bay 
onet sent them galloping up the road. 

George silently led the way to the place where 
they had left their prisoner, and, as soon as he 
was set at liberty, they bent their steps across 
the plantation, toward the woods at the rear. 
Although George had borne up bravely while in 
the presence of his rebel parents, he could con 
trol himself no longer, and tears, which he could 
not repress, coursed down his cheeks, as ever and 
anon he turned to take a long, lingering look at 
the place he could no longer call home. Every 
emotion he experienced found an echo in the 
generous heart of Frank, who was scarcely less 
affected than himself. He could not believe that 
the scene through which they had just passed 
was a reality. It did not seem possible that 
parents could address a son in the language that 
he had heard used toward George. 

The unexpected denouement at the house had 

rendered the major and captain doubly anxious ; 

for now nothing but the most consummate skill 

and daring could save them from recapture ; and, 

virile the former kept close watch on the house. 



228 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

to catch the first sign of pursuit that should be 
made, the latter gave vent to his feelings by 
railing, in his broken English, first at George for 
proposing such an expedition, and then by depre 
cating his own folly for yielding his consent to it. 
But there was no help now ; regrets could not 
mend the matter, and nothing but rapid flight 
could save them. 

When they reached the end of the field, George 
became suddenly aroused. Brushing away the 
tears that dimmed his eyes, he placed himself at 
the head of the party, and started on at a rapid 
Dace through the woods. 



ALMOST BETRAYED. 



229 



CHAPTER XVIII. 




, HITHER he was leading them no 
one knew, or cared to ask ; for, if 
they had entertained any suspicions 
in regard to George, the scene at 
the house had dispelled them ; and 
knowing that he had as much, if not 
more, cause to dread recapture than 
themselves, they relied implicitly on him to get 
them out of their present difficulty. 

The woods were pitch-dark, but George seemed 
to understand what he was about, and, for two 
hours, not a word was spoken, except, perhaps, 
now and then a growl of anger, as some one 
stumbled over a log or bush that lay in his way. 
Finally, the softness of the ground under their 
feet indicated that they were approaching a 
swamp. George now paused, and said : 



230 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

"Major, with your permission, we will stop here 
until daylight. It is impossible to go further in 
this darkness, for it is an ugly road to travel." 

"What makes you take to the swamp?" in 
quired Frank. 

"It is a short cut across the country," an 
swered George, " and if we are pursued by blood 
hounds we can more easily elude them." 

Between sleeping and listening for the noise 
of pursuit, the fugitives passed the night. As 
soon as day began to dawn, they made a hasty 
breakfast on the provisions which they had ob 
tained at the plantation, and resumed their jour 
ney. George led the way into the swamp, and, 
as he seemed to choose the most difficult path, 
their progress was necessarily slow and laborious. 
About the middle of the afternoon the swamp be 
came almost impassable, and the major was about 
to suggest the propriety of picking out an easier 
path, when George suddenly halted on the banks 
of a narrow, but deep and sluggish, stream, and, 
wiping his forehead with his coat-sleeve, said, with 
something like a sigh of relief: 

"Here we are, at last." 

" I see we are," said the major, gazing impa- 



ALMOST BETRAYED. 231 

tiently about on the labyrinth of trees and bushes 
with which they were surrounded, u but I had 
rather be almost anywhere else. You might as 
well get us out of this swamp by the shortest and 
easiest path you can find." 

" I will, if you order me to do so," answered 
George ; " but we are now at as good a harbor 
ing place as can be found in a country filled with 
enemies, -bent upon our capture, and thirsting for 
our blood. I know my father s disposition too 
well to think that he will allow us to get off easily. 
The country is fairly overrun with cavalry by 
this time, and the best thing we can do is to re 
main here until the excitement has abated a little, 
and then push for Red River again. That high 
bank you see over there," he continued, point 
ing across the stream, "is an island, and all 
the blood-hounds and negro-hunters in Louisiana 
would not think of looking for us there. How 
ever, I will lead you out of the swamp, if you 
say so." 

After a short consultation, it was decided that 
it would be best to accept George s plan, as their 
pursuers would never think of looking for them 
so near the plantation; and, after divesting them- 



232 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

selves of their clothes, they entered the water, 
and struck out for the opposite shore. Frank, 
who brought up the rear, had scarcely made half 
a dozen strokes, when he was startled by a loud 
splashing in the water, followed by a noise resem 
bling the bellowing of a bull, and looked up just 
in time to see the huge, shining body of an alli 
gator disappear in the muddy water. The utmost 
horror was depicted on Frank s countenance, as 
he turned and hastily regained the shore. The 
others, who were too far out to return, were no 
less terrified, but they had the presence of mind 
to retain their hold of their clothing and weapons, 
and a few hasty strokes brought them to the 
shore. George and the lieutenant were the only 
ones who did not seem aware of the danger; for, 
when the former reached the shore, he proceeded 
to pull on his clothes, and, seeing Frank standing 
where he had left him, coolly inquired : 

" Why do n t you come on? Can t you swim?" 
" Yes," answered Frank ; " but did n t you see 
that alligator? I almost ran over him before 1 
saw him." 

" 0, that s nothing," answered George, care 
lessly. " If alligators were all We had to fear, 



ALMOST BETRAYED. 233 

we would all be safe at the North in less than 
two months. They are death on darkeys, but they 
will not touch a white man in the water, if he 
keeps moving. There 7 s not the slightest danger. 
Come on." 

Frank was very much inclined to doubt this 
statement; but, screwing up his courage to the 
highest pitch, he stepped into the water again, 
and struck out. When he reached the middle of 
the stream, he saw a large, black object rise in 
the water but a short distance from him, and, 
after regarding him a moment with a pair of small, 
sharp-looking eyes, it disappeared, with another 
of those roars which had so startled him but a 
moment before. He kept on, however, and, in 
a few moments, reached the shore in safety. 

" Now," said George, " there is, or was about 
five years ago, a cabin on this island, where our 
negroes used to put up when they came here 
fishing. Let us see if we can find it." 

He commenced leading the way, through the 
thick bushes and trees, toward the center of the 
island, and, after a few moments walk, they sud 
denly entered a small, clear spot, where stood the 
cabin of which George had spoken. But a far 



234 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

different scene was presented than they had ex 
pected ; for a fire was burning near the cabin, 
and a man stood over it, superintending the cook 
ing of his supper, and conversing in a low tone 
with a companion who lay stretched out on his 
blanket close by. Both were dressed in the rebel 
uniform, and their muskets and a cavalry saber 
were hung up under the eaves of the cabin. 
George at once hastily drew back into the bushes, 
while the captain threw forward his musket, and 
whispered : 

" Major, I pelieve it s petter we shoots them 
rebels." 

Before the major had time to reply, a large 
dog, which the fugitives had not before noticed, 
arose from the blanket where he had lain beside 
his master, and uttered a low growl, whereat the 
rebels seized their weapons, and were beating a 
precipitate retreat, when a loud "halt!" from the 
major brought them to a stand-still, 

" We takes you all two brisoners, said the 
captain, as he advanced from the bushes, fol 
lowed by the remainder of the fugitives, who 
all held their weapons in readiness. "Drop 
them guns." 



ALMOST BETRAYED. 235 

The rebels did as they were ordered, and the 
major said : 

" Now we will talk to you. Who and what are 
you?" 

The men hesitated for a moment, and at length 
one of them, turning to his companion with a 
meaning look, said : 

" We re caught, any way we can fix it, Jim, 
and we may as well make a clean breast of it. 
We are deserters." 

" What are you doing here ? " 

"We came here to get out of the way of you 
fellows who were sent after us. It is as good a 
place of refuge as we could find, and, to tell the 
truth, we did not think you would discover it. 
You must have followed us with blood-hounds." 

"No, sir; we did not," exclaimed the major, 
indignantly. "What do you take us for sav 
ages?" 

"Well, you found us in some way," replied the 
rebel, " and I suppose we re done for." 

"No, not necessarily. We shall not trouble 
you as long as you behave yourselves, for we are 
in a bad fix also." 

" Are you deserters, too ? " inquired the rebel, 



236 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

joyfully. " If you are, we are all right, foi, witl 
the force we have, we can defend this island 
against as many men as they can pile into Louis 
iana. But, shoot me if I did n t think you were 
looking after us. I see you have gobbled a Yan 
kee," he continued, pointing to the lieutenant 
"But, come, sit down and have some supper." 

The major was perfectly willing that the reb 
els should consider themselves in the presence 
of their own men ; and, besides, if they were 
really deserters, their being on the island proved 
what George had told them, that it was considered 
to be a safe place for concealment. The only 
cause he had for uneasiness was the presence of 
the rebel lieutenant ; if he should find opportunity 
to talk to the men, he would soon make known 
the true state of affairs. 

" Captain," he whispered, turning to that indi 
vidual, "keep an eye on that prisoner of ours, 
and do not, under any circumstances, leave him 
alone with these deserters." 

The fugitives then threw themselves on the 
ground, under the shade of the trees, and, while 
the majority readily entered into conversation 
with the rebels, Frank, who had grown suspicious 



ALMOST BETRAYED. 237 

^f every thing that looked like friendship, in spite 
of the cordial manner with which the deserters had 
welcomed them, could not, for a long time, satisfy 
himself that every thing was right. However, as 
he could detect nothing in the actions of the men 
to confirm his suspicions, and, as the fact that 
their food was supplied to them by a negro, who 
visited the island - every night, gave him good 
grounds for believing that there might, after all, 
be some truth in their statement, he dismissed 
the subject for the present, but determined that 
the men should be closely watched. 

During the two following days, which the 
fugitives spent on the island, nothing suspicious 
was discovered. Wherever the lieutenant went 
he was closely followed by his keeper, and he was 
never allowed to be alone with the other rebels. 
In fact, he did not seem at all desirous of having 
any conversation with them, for, with the excep 
tion of taking a short walk about the island after 
every meal, he passed both day and night in 
dozing in the cabin. The rebels, on the other 
hand, appeared to believe him a " Yankee," and 
as such, considered him beneath their notice. 
Frank was beginning to think that his fears had 



238 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

been utterly groundless, when, on the third night, 
he was fortunate enough to detect a plot, which, 
if carried into execution, would have put an end 
to all his hopes of seeing home again, perhaps 
forever. 

It was his duty to stand sentry from dark until 
midnight. As he walked his beat, listening for 
the signal of the negro, whom he every moment 
expected with another supply of provisions, and 
thinking over the scenes through which he had 
passed since he had entered the service, he* heard 
a slight rustling in the bushes back of the cabin, 
and saw one of the deserters disappear among the 
trees. What could the man mean by moving about 
the island at that time of night? There must 
be something wrong, for his stealthy movements 
proved that he did not wish to be observed. 
While Frank was pondering upon the subject, 
and debating the propriety of informing the major 
of the fact, the lieutenant sauntered leisurely uj 
to the place where he was standing, and, stretch 
ing his arms, languidly inquired : 

" Don t you think it is very sultry this evening? 
it is impossible for me to sleep." 

This was something unusual for the lieutenant, 



ALMOST BETRAYED. 239 

, although he had often conversed very freely 
with the major, had never before spoken to Frank 
since the night of his capture. The latter knew 
that the rebel had some object in view, and at 
once determined to act as though he suspected 
nothing, and to await the issue of affairs. 

" Yes, it is very warm," he replied, fanning 
himself with his cap. " I shall be glad when I 
get North again." 

" No doubt of it," answered the rebel, carelessly. 
" I believe I 11 go down to the spring and get a 
cup of water, if you have no objections." 

As soon as he had disappeared, Frank threw 
himself on his hands and knees, and crawling to 
the edge of the bank, looked over, and saw the 
lieutenant and the deserter, whom he had seen 
stealing from the cabin, engaged in conversation. 

" They will be here to-morrow night, then, with 
out fail?" he heard the lieutenant ask. 

" Yes, so the negro says," replied the deserter. 

" Twelve of them, did you say ? That will make 
sixteen, including the negro. There will be none 
too many of us, for these Yankees will fight like 
perfect demons. If we fail, our lives will not be 
worth five minutes purchase." 



240 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

" Do not have any fears," replied the other, 
"I have made assurance doubly sure, and fail 
ure is impossible." 

" Well, go back to the cabin now," said the 
lieutenant, " for you might be missed." 

On hearing this, Frank hastily retreated, and 
regained his post. Presently the lieutenant re 
turned, and, after giving Frank a drink of water 
from his cup, sought his blanket. 

"A pretty piece of business, indeed, thought 
Frank, as he commenced walking his be it again. 
" It is fortunate I discovered it. I 11 kec p a look 
out for the negro, and learn all I can frnn him." 

He was not obliged to wait long, for j resently 
a low whistle, that sounded from the opposite 
side of the bayou, told that the negro was in 
waiting. Frank answered the signal, when * light 
canoe shot out from the shore and app /t iched 
the island. In a few moments the negro ^ *lked 
up the bank, and, depositing a large bag of pro 
visions in the cabin, turned to go back, foil wed 
by Frank, who commenced conversation b^ ob 
serving, " A warm evening, uncle ; " but, the 
moment they were out of sight of the cabh> he 
inquired, in a low voice : 



ALMOST BETRAYED. 241 

" Are those twelve men all ready to come here 
to-morrow night?" 

" Sar ! what twelve men?" asked the negro, in 
well-feigned surprise. " I dunno nuffin bout no 
twelve men." 

" 0, now, see here, uncle," said Frank, " that 
stcry won t do at all, for I know better than that. 
You see this is the first chance I have had to talk 
to you, for these Yanks watch me so closely. 
Now, at what hour are they to be here?" 

" I tol you, massa," repeated the negro, " dat 
I dunno nuffin bout no men;" and, thinking he 
had settled the matter, turned to walk away. 

But Frank was not yet done with him, and, 
seeing that he was too cunning to be " pumped," 
determined to try what effect the sight of his 
weapons would produce. Seizing the negro by the 
collar, he pressed the muzzle of his revolver against 
his head, whispering, between his clenched teeth: 

" See here, you black rascal ! you do know all 
about the matter, for you have carried orders 
from these rebels here to their friends. So, con 
fess the whole truth, instantly." 

" I dunno nuffin bout no men, I tol you," per 
sisted the negro. 
16 



242 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

"You won t confess, eh?" said Frank, cocking 
his revolver. " Then you re a dead man." 

" Lor ! do n t shoot, massa," exclaimed the 
now terrified negro. "What shall I fess." 

"Confess the truth," replied Frank, "and you 
shall not be harmed ; but, if you try to deceive 
me, you re a dead darkey. Answer such ques 
tions as I shall ask you. In the first place, who 
are these men who say they are rebel deserters?" 

" One of em is my massa, an de other is a 
captain in de army." 

" What are they doing on this island ? " 

" Dey come here for to cotch young massa 
George Le Dell, cause dey knowed he would be 
shore for to come here." 

" Well, how many men are you going to bring 
over here to-morrow night ? " 

" Twelve, sar, an I fotch em in de big canoe/ 

"At what hour?" 

" Midnight, when de moon hab gone down, an 
my massa is on guard." 

Having got this important information, Fr;nk 
released the negro, and regained his post without 
being discovered. At midnight he called his relief. 
and then lay ^own on the ground and fell asleep. 



ALMOST BETRAYED. 243 

After breakfast, the next morning, as the major 
\vent to the spring to fill his cup, Frank, who had 
followed close behind him, said suddenly : 

" We re in trouble again." 

" Yes, and always shall be," answered the 
major, coolly, " until we are safe at the North. 
But what is the matter now any thing new ? " 

u Yes," replied Frank, speaking in a whisper, 
lest he should be overheard. " Last night I dis 
covered that there is a plot on foot to recapture 
us, and the attempt is to be made at midnight. 
These men we found here are not deserters, as 
they claim to be, but still belong to the army." 

The major, as if not at all concerned, raised 
the cup to his lips and slowly drained it, keeping 
his eyes fastened on Frank, who finally began to 
grow impatient, and inquired : 

" What shall we do to defeat them ? " 

" Keep cool, for one thing," answered the 
major. "But tell me all the particulars." 

Frank then recounted every $iing that had 
transpired. When he had finished, the major 
carelessly remarked: 

" The rascals played their parts pretty well ; in 
fact, very well, indeed. Now, the first thing to 



244 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

be done is to go back to the camp and secure 
those two fellows. We "11 determine upon oui 
plans afterward." 

They accordingly slowly returned to the cabin, 
and found their men engaged, one in sharpening 
his bowie-knife,- and the other cleaning his rifle. 
The major walked straight up to one of them, 
and, seizing his musket, wrested it from him. The 
other, comprehending the state of affairs in an in 
stant, exclaimed "Betrayed!" and turned to run, 
when Frank grappled with him and threw him 
to the ground. 

"What ish the matter here, any way?" ex 
claimed the captain, who was taken so completely 
by surprise that he stood riveted to the spot. 

"Lend a hand here," answered Frank, strug 
gling desperately with his man, "and ask your 
questions afterward." 

The captain at once sprang to Frank s assist 
ance ; in a moment, the rebel was disarmed, and 
his hands bound behind his back. The major, 
in the mean time, having succeeded in securing 
his man, gave a hasty explanation of the matter, 
and ended by saying : 

" There is but one way for us to do, and that 



ALMOST BETRAYED. 245 

is to leave this place at once. Tie those two 
rebels to some of these trees, and then we 11 be 

off; 

As soon as this was accomplished, and the 
major had satisfied himself that there was not 
the least chance for their escape, he said : 

"Now, we shall leave you here. Your friends 
will probably be along at midnight and liberate 
you." 

The rebels made no reply, and the fugitives, 
after collecting their weapons, again set out, 
taking the lieutenant with them. The major or 
dered George to lead them by the most direct 
route to Red River. This was a desperate 
measure, but their case was also desperate. The 
country on all sides of them had been alarmed, 
and, if Red River was closely guarded, the 
Washita was equally dangerous. 

So anxious were they to put as long a distance 
is possible between them and the scene of their 
late narrow escape, that they traveled until the 
next morning stopping only to eat sparingly of 
some provisions which one of the soldiers had se 
cured before leaving the island and then camped 
in the swamp, and slept soundly. 



246 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 



CHAPTER XVI. 




HE next evening, as soon as it was 
dark, they again started out. For 
three days they held their course 
straight through the woods, and, finally, 
releasing their prisoner, they bent their 
steps toward Red River, where, after 
many delays, they succeeded in secur 
ing a canoe. 

They traveled entirely by night, and, in a short 
time reached Alexandria, where they landed just 
above the village, and went ashore to reconnoiter. 
To their disappointment they found that the place 
was filled with soldiers, and that a pontoon-bridge 
had been thrown across the river, and was guarded 
at both ends. 

After making all their observations, they re 
treated to the bank of the river, and held a con- 



CONCLUSION. 247 

ouitation. Should they abandon their canoe, and 
strike off through the woods again? There were 
many objections to this plan. The country, for 
miles around, was, doubtless, filled with encamp 
ments, and guarded by pickets, and their progress 
would involve both danger and difficulty. Besides, 
they were almost worn out with travel and con 
stant watching, and, even had there been no ob 
stacles in their way, it would have been impossible 
for them to sustain a long journey across the 
country. It was finally decided to follow the 
river. They resolved to run the bridge, and hoped, 
aided by darkness, to escape discovery. It was 
necessary that some one should guide the canoe, 
and, as Frank perfectly understood its manage 
ment, he was selected for the purpose. 

As soon as the moon had gone down, Frank 
seated himself in the stern of the canoe, and his 
companions stretched themselves out under the 
thwarts, as much out of sight as possible. As soon 
as all was ready, he moved their frail craft from 
the shore, with one silent sweep of the paddle, turn 
ing it toward the bridge. 

It was a dangerous undertaking; but Frank, 
although perfectly aware of this, and knowing what 



248 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

his fate would be if he was recaptured, had nevej 
been more cool and self-possessed in his life. He 
remained at his station until they were within a 
hundred yards of the bridge. He then drew in his 
paddle, and laid on the bottom of the canoe, with 
the others, awaiting the issue. 

Propelled by the force of the current, the canoe 
rapidly approached the bridge, and, presently, they 
could distinctly hear the sentinels talking with each 
other. They had not been expecting an enemy in 
that quarter; but, in a few moments, that danger 
was passed. For miles below Alexandria, the 
river was lined with picket fires, and the slightest 
noise would have betrayed them. But they were 
not discovered ; and, after a week s journey during 
which the papers Frank had taken from the rebel 
lieutenant procured them food they reached the 
Mississippi River. 

To their disappointment they learned that Vicks- 
burg was still in possession of the rebels, and that 
they had two hundred miles further to go be 
fore they would be among friends again. After 
having come so far, they could not be discouraged, 
but, taking a few moments repose, they again set 
out. 



CONCLUSION. 249 

The current in the river was very strong, and 
it was a month before they reached Vicksburg. 
One dark night, they ran by the city in safety, and 
the next morning, to their joy, they found them 
selves in sight of a gun-boat, for which they imme 
diately shaped their course. As they approached 
her, Frank thought there was something about the 
vessel that looked familiar; and when they came 
alongside, he found that it was the Ticonderoga. 
She had been repainted, and some of her rigging 
altered, which was the reason he had not recog 
nized her before. 

Frank almost cried with joy when he found 
himself once more on his own ship; and all the 
dangers he had undergone were forgotten in a mo 
ment. He saw many new officers on board, and a 
master s mate met them at the gangway, who, prob 
ably, held the position he once occupied. 

The captain stood on deck, but did not recognize 
him ; and even the old mate, with whom Frank had 
been an especial favorite, gazed at him as though 
he were a perfect stranger. 

"Walk up on deck, men," said the officer who 
received them, and who, doubtless, took them for 
rebel deserters, " the captain wants to see you." 



250 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

IVank led the way up the ladder, and, as they 
filed, one after the other, on to the quarter-deck, 
the captain inquired: 

"Where do you belong, men?" 

" I formerly belonged here, sir, answered 
Frank, raising his hat ; " and I have the honor to 
report myself on board." 

"Report yourself on board !" repeated the cap 
tain, in a tone- of surprise. 

" Yes, sir. I have n t been on board since we 
were down Yazoo Pass. I did not intend to re 
main away so long, when I left the ship, but I 
could n t help it." 

"Explain yourself," said the captain, growing 
impatient ; " I do n t know what you mean." 

"My name is Nelson, sir ; I was captured at" 

" Why, Mr. Nelson ! " exclaimed the captain, 
seizing his hand with a grip that almost wrung 
from him a cry of pain, "is it possible this is 
you ? I never expected to see you again. But 
who are these with you?" 

" They are some of our soldiers, whom I met on 
the way down." 

Their story was very soon told. When it be 
came known that the rebel lieutenant who was 



CONCLUSION. 251 

talking with the captain was none other than 
Frank Nelson, the quarter-deck was filled with 
officers and men, who gathered around the young 
hero, congratulating him on his safe return. He 
was compelled to relate the particulars of his es 
cape over and over again ; and, finally, he and 
his companions were taken down into the ward 
room, and supplied with clothing more befitting 
their stations than that which they wore. 

For two days Frank did nothing but answer 
questions and relate incidents that occurred dur 
ing the flight from Shreveport. But at length the 
reaction came, and he, with several of his com 
panions, were seized with the fever. For a month 
Frank was very ill; but he received the best of 
care, and, aided by his strong constitution, the 
progress of the disease was stayed. 

One day the captain came into his room, and, 
seating himself by his bedside, inquired : 
"Well, Mr. Nelson, how do you prosper?" 
" Oh, I am getting along finely, thank you, sir." 
"Do you think you will be strong enough to 
travel, soon?" 

" Yes, sir," answered Frank, wondering what 
made the captain ask that question. 



252 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

"How would you enjoy a trip home?" 

"Oh, I should enjoy it above all things, sir. 1 
never was away from home so long before, in my 
life." 

" Well," said the captain, as he rose to go, " you 
must hurry and get well as fast as you can. The 
doctor told me that he thought you ought to go 
North and recruit a little ; so I wrote to the Ad 
miral, and obtained you a sick-leave. The dis 
patch boat will be along in a day or two, and I will 
send you up the river on her. I think it is noth 
ing more than right that you should go home for 
a couple of months, at least, for you have been 
through a good deal for a young man of your age." 

The thought that he was soon to see his home 
again did Frank more good than all the medicine 
the doctor had given him ; and, by the time the 
mail steamer arrived, he was able to walk about. 
In two weeks they arrived at Cairo. The steamer 
had scarcely touched the wharf-boat before Archie, 
who had seen his cousin standing on deck, sprang 
on board. 

We can not describe the meeting. To Archie it 
was like finding one risen from the dead; for he had 
heard of Frank s capture, and had never expected 



CONCLUSION. 253 



to see him again. A multitude of questions were 
asked and answered on both sides ; and when Frank 
informed Archie that he was on his way home, 
the latter abruptly left him, and hurried to the 
fleet paymaster to ask permission to accompany 
his cousin. This, as business was dull, and as 
Archie had always been very faithful, was readily 
obtained. They made preparations for immediate 
departure. After Archie had telegraphed to his 
father that Frank was safe taking care, however, 
not to say one word about their coming home 
they took their seats in the cars, and soon arrived 
safely in Portland. Frank remained there only 
one day, and then set out for Lawrence. 

Only those who have been in similar circum 
stances can imagine what Frank s feelings were, 
as he stood on the deck of the Julia Burton, and 
found himself once more in sight of his native vil 
lage. Familiar objects met his eye on every side. 
There were the weeds that surrounded the perch- 
bed, where he, in company with George and Harry 
Butler, was fishing when he made the acquaintance 
of Charles Morgan, who was afterward the leader 
of the Regulators. Above the perch-bed was the 
bass-ground, and to the left was Reynard s Island, 



254 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 



where the black fox had been captured. Near the 
middle of the river lay Strawberry Island, which 
had been the silent witness of many a sailing match 
between the yachts of the village ; in short, every 
thing looked exactly as it did when, just fifteen 
months before, he had sailed down the river on 
that same steamer, on his way to Portland. 

As soon as the steamer was made fast to the 
wharf, Frank gave his trunk in charge of a dray 
man, and set out on foot for the cottage ; for, im 
patient as he was to get home, he wished to have 
time to enjoy the sight of each familiar object along 
the road; besides, he wished to come in upon his 
folks (who little dreamed that he was so near them) 
suddenly, and take them by surprise. Every thing 
in the village, and along the road, looked as natural 
as ever ; not a tree, bush, or stump seemed to have 
been removed. At length he reached the bend in 
the road which brought him in sight of his home. 
He stopped to gaze upon the scene. Not a thing 
about the house or orchard had been changed. He 
noticed that a part of the rose-bush which covered 
his window, and which had been broken off in a 
storm the night before he left, still swung loose in 
the wind; and even his fish-pole, which he had 



CONCLUSION. 255 

up under the eaves of his museum, had not 
been touched. 

While he stood thus, trying in vain to choke 
back the tears, he was aroused by a well-known 
bark; the next moment Brave bounded over the 
fence, and came toward his master at the top of 
his speed. He had been lying in his accustomed 
place in front of the house ; he had seen Frank 
approaching, and had recognized him in an in 
stant. Frank wound his arms around the faithful 
animal s neck, and, after caressing him for a mo 
ment, again started toward the house, Brave lead 
ing the way, with every demonstration of joy. As 
soon as Frank succeeded in quieting him, he walked 
through the gate, noiselessly opened the door lead 
ing into the hall, and paused to listen. 

He heard Julia s voice singing one of his favor 
ite songs, while a loud clatter of dishes told him 
that Hannah was still in charge of the kitchen. 

Brave ran into the sitting-room, barking and 
whining furiously, and Frank heard his mothei 
say: 

" Julia, I guess you did not close the front door 
when you came in. Be quiet, Brave. What is the 
matter with you?" and Mrs. Nelson, dressed in 



256 FRANK ON A GUN-BOAT. 

deep mourning, came into the hall. The next mo 
ment she was clasped in her son s arms. 

Let those who have sons and brothers in the 
service imagine the joy that prevailed in that 
house ! They had heard of Frank s capture, 
through Archie and the captain of the Ticonde- 
roga, and, afterward, that he was killed at Shreve- 
port, while attempting to run by the guards. 

" Mother," said Frank, as soon as the greeting 
was over, " you told me, when I went away, never 
to shrink from my duty, but always to do what was 
required of me, no matter what the danger might 
be. Have I obeyed your instructions?" 

Reader, will you answer the question for her? 
and will you follow Frank through his adventures 
before Vicksburg and on the Lower Mississippi ? 

THE ENfr. 



14 DAY USE 

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